Self-funded health plans have long been shrouded in myths and misconceptions. These myths often dissuade employers from exploring this option, leading them to overlook potentially advantageous solutions for their healthcare needs.

Below are some of the most prevalent myths surrounding self-funded health plans I want to debunk so I can, instead, shed light on why they may be the right choice for many businesses.

Myth 1: Self-funded plans come with higher risks.

One of the most pervasive myths about self-funded health plans is that they inherently carry greater risk than traditional fully insured plans. While it’s true that self-funded plans require employers to directly assume the financial risk for their employees’ healthcare costs, this doesn’t necessarily mean they are riskier. In fact, self-funded plans offer greater flexibility and control, allowing employers to tailor their benefits to the specific needs of their workforce. Additionally, stop-loss insurance can be purchased to protect against catastrophic claims, mitigating much of the perceived risk associated with self-funding.

Myth 2: Self-funded plans are always more expensive than other options.

Contrary to popular belief, self-funded health plans can actually be more cost-effective than fully insured plans in many cases. With self-funding, employers have the ability to design benefit packages that align with their budget and utilization patterns. They also have access to detailed claims data, which enables them to identify cost drivers and implement targeted cost-containment strategies. Moreover, by eliminating the profit margins of insurance carriers, self-funded plans often result in lower administrative expenses and greater transparency in pricing.

Myth 3: Only large companies can self-fund.

While it’s true that many large corporations opt for self-funded health plans, this option is not exclusive to big businesses. In recent years, self-funding has become increasingly accessible to small and mid-sized employers thanks to the availability of stop-loss insurance and the emergence of third-party administrators (TPAs) that cater to smaller companies. Self-funding offers scalability, allowing businesses of all sizes to customize their benefits and manage costs more effectively.

Myth 4: You have limited options when you self-fund.

Another common misconception is that self-funded plans limit employers to a narrow range of options. In reality, self-funding provides employers with a wide array of choices and greater flexibility in plan design. From selecting network providers and pharmacy benefit managers to implementing wellness programs and telemedicine services, self-funded employers have the freedom to tailor their benefits to meet the unique needs of their workforce. Self-funded plans can also accommodate various cost-containment strategies, such as reference-based pricing and direct contracting, further expanding the range of options available.


Self-funded health plans offer greater flexibility, cost-effectiveness, and control, making them a viable option for businesses of all sizes. It’s time to dispel the myths surrounding self-funding and embrace its potential advantages in the realm of employee benefits.