Self-Insured Firms Struggle to Drive Hard Bargains With Health Care Providers

Self-insured plans pay higher prices for many health care services compared with fully insured plans, according to an analysis of claims data published in this month’s issue of Health Affairs. Aditi P. Sen, Ph.D., the study’s lead author, says the findings “suggest that employers are generally not able to negotiate prices on behalf of their employees, and I don’t think that should be surprising. It really reflects the dynamics in health care markets.”

In self-insured plans, employers assume financial responsibility for their workers’ health care claims rather than having a health insurer take on that risk — theoretically giving such companies more incentive to drive costs down.

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Tim Casey

Tim Casey

Tim has worked as a reporter and editor for more than 20 years. Before joining AIS Health in December 2021, he was a business reporter covering the commercial real estate industry’s capital markets for four years. He previously covered health care business issues for two medical publishing companies and high school, college and professional sports for the Sacramento Bee newspaper. Tim has a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Notre Dame and an M.B.A. from Georgetown University.

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