MyHealthGuide Source: Cyril Tuohy, 8/5/2014, InsuranceNet Article A new report published by the ratings agency A.M. Best finds that rising demand for stop-loss insurance will come from small and midsize employers as self-insured insurance plans are not subject to certain requirements of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Analysts Tom Zitelli and Jason Hopper, co-authors of the report, estimated that the fee assessed on health insurers is expected to generate $8 billion in 2014 and grow to $14 billion by 2018. The fee has been passed along to employers in the form of rate increases. According to the Self-Insurance Institute of America, the self-insurance industry’s main trade group, self-funding has advantages over the traditional insurance model. Among the advantages are that employers can customize their plans to their employee population, employers maintain control over interest-bearing health plan reserves, self-funded plans follow federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act regulation instead of state health rules and employers avoid paying state health insurance premium taxes. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services data show that in 2012, 59.9 percent of private-sector health plan enrollees were covered through self-insured plans, an increase of 20 percentage points from 40.9 percent in 1998. Based on the research of 33 stop-loss insurers, A.M. Best said it expects stop-loss insurance to remain “a very competitive line of business.” Prices, therefore, will be attractive for smaller businesses considering self-insurance. Sun Life, one of the largest writers of stop-loss coverage in the U.S., said a study of its claims data found that the increases were due to new medical technologies and advanced drug therapies. Malignant forms of cancer were the top catastrophic medical condition from 2010 to 2013 with a value of paid stop-loss claims of $347.9 million, or 17.5 percent of all paid stop-loss payments that Sun Life made to policyholders over the four-year period, Sun Life said. Chronic and end-stage renal diseases were next with a value of paid stop-loss claims reaching $164.3 million, or 8.2 percent of all paid stop-loss claims over the past four-year period.