Mark Farrah Associates Confirms Health Insurers Cover More ASO (Self-Insured) Lives than Fully-Insured

KENNEBUNK, Maine–(BUSINESS WIRE)– Mark Farrah Associates (MFA), a leading provider of market data and intelligence solutions, found nationwide more than 91 million people are covered by administrative services only (ASO) agreements with health insurance carriers as of June 2010, compared to 86 million who are covered by commercial fully-insured (risk) arrangements. ASO enrollment has declined slightly since 2009, when it initially surpassed commercial risk-based enrollment. However, the decline is significantly less than that experienced by risk-based, fully-insured plans. In fact, over the last five years, while commercial risk enrollment fell -13%, administrative services business increased 11%. Newer markets, such as small to mid-sized employers, are driving much of the membership growth for administrative services products as growth in the traditional markets remains stable.

Employers, or other sponsors of health insurance, have several options for financing their employees’ or participants’ health benefit plans – fully-insure, self-insure or hybrid options. If the company chooses to self-insure they usually enlist a Third Party Administrator (TPA) to manage this business for them. Health insurance carriers and their subsidiaries provide most of the administrative services for enrollment covered under TPA agreements for health benefits.

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