June 14, 2024

When thinking of workers’ compensation, dealing with the range of insurance models can often seem like a daunting task for employers. However, one model that has been steadily garnering attention is the self-funded plan. 

Unlike traditional insurance models, self-funded plans empower employers to assume the financial risk of providing workers’ compensation benefits to their employees. This shift from conventional insurance models to self-funded plans marks a significant evolution in how organizations approach workers’ compensation. 

Along the same lines as insurance excess, the allure of self-funded plans lies in their potential to offer financial control, customization, and enhanced claims management. In this article, let us explore some of the benefits that come with self-funded plans for workers’ compensation. 

1. The Financial Control Is Great To Have

The cornerstone of self-funded plans for workers’ compensation lies in the financial control they afford employers. Unlike traditional insurance models, where premiums are paid to insurance companies, self-funded plans allow employers to retain these funds, providing a significant financial advantage. 

As Prescient National states, the fact that you work closely with the adjuster means far greater control in handling claims. This model is particularly attractive for larger firms with the financial capacity to absorb the impact of occasional costly claims. 

The model’s traction is evidenced by the significant increase in the enrollment of covered workers in self-funded health plans, from 44% in 1999 to 65% in 2022.

​Moreover, the financial control extended by self-funded plans is not merely about cost-saving; it’s about cost optimization. Employers have the latitude to allocate funds where they are most needed. This could be in safety programs to reduce the frequency and severity of claims, or in other strategic areas of the business. 

This control over funds also enables a rapid response to claims, fostering a culture of trust and assurance among employees. 

Furthermore, the accrued interest on retained funds before they are utilized for claim payment is an often overlooked financial benefit. This interest income can contribute to offsetting the costs of administering the self-funded plan or other organizational expenditures.

2. Customization and Flexibility

These plans are not one-size-fits-all; rather, they can be customized to meet the needs of the organization or employer. The liberty to choose plan designs and service providers is a big departure from typical insurance models, where such choices are often limited or nonexistent. 

This flexibility is particularly beneficial when dealing with workers’ compensation, where the needs of employers and employees are constantly evolving​.

The ability to customize coverage levels and benefits in self-funded plans allows employers to prioritize resources effectively. For instance, an organization with a robust safety culture and a lower claim frequency may opt for a different plan. 

The structure they choose will greatly differ when compared to an organization with a higher claim frequency. 

This level of customization facilitates better alignment between the insurance plan and the organization’s operational realities, thereby optimizing the cost-benefit equation. In a business environment, the cost of workers’ compensation insurance is often a significant concern. The ability to personalize self-funded plans offers a real solution to keeping costs in check. 

When employers customize insurance plans to fit the unique needs and day-to-day operations of the organization, a better balance is found.

3. Claims Management Becomes More Effective

Claims management is a fundamental aspect of self-funded plans for workers’ compensation, offering a direct pathway to cost control and improved employee satisfaction. The capacity to manage claims effectively is crucial. It can significantly impact the financial performance of the self-funded plan and, by extension, the organization’s bottom line.

Employers have the discretion to either administer claims in-house or engage third-party administrators to manage this critical process​. Effective claims management encompasses prompt claims reporting, diligent investigation, accurate claims adjudication, and proactive management of medical care and rehabilitation services. 


These processes play a crucial role in controlling costs, ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements, and fostering a culture of transparency between employers and employees.

Additionally, aggressive claims management can potentially yield financial dividends. If the fund performs better than anticipated, the surplus could be utilized to offset future premiums, invest in safety initiatives, or support other organizational priorities.


Moving from traditional insurance to self-funded plans is not just about who handles the money. It signals a shift towards better relations between employers and employees and makes the organization stronger. This change, highlighted by better fund control, personalized plans, and effective handling of claims, creates a win-win situation for both employers and employees.

The knowledge gained from exploring self-funded plans for workers’ compensation also helps us witness a company’s ability to bounce back. Thus, self-funded plans are a fantastic option that is worth looking into.


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