Des Moines Returns to Self-funding Health Benefits After 8-year Hiatus

 Here’s a testament to the power of lower stop-loss attachment points. The City of Des Moines returned to self-funding health benefits for city employees, after an eight-year hiatus, the Des Moines Register reported today. The city council approved the move in a unanimous vote. The primary reason: Stop loss with far lower attachment point: previously it was $300k; now it’s $125k. Its insurer, Wellmark, will move to an administrative only role. The city says it will not change employee benefits, health plans or networks. Time will tell. No savings anticipated until 2013; the savings will be spent building reserves. My question is: if self-funding is a way to get out of the upward premium spiral, what’s not to like about lower attachment points?