business people working togetherSince the Affordable Care Act was signed into law in March 2010 through June 2014, the health care industry has gained 982,300 jobs according to Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates. Even though spending in Healthcare is slowing, job growth continues to be strong.

What is a Self-Funded Health Plan?

A self-insured group health plan (or a 'self-funded' plan as it is also called) is one in which the employer assumes the financial risk for providing health care benefits to its employees. In practical terms, self-insured employers pay for each out of pocket claim as they are incurred instead of paying a fixed premium to an insurance carrier, which is known as a fully-insured plan.

Are More Employers Adopting a Self-Funded Approach to Benefits Coverage?

Yes, there has been more than a 6,000% increase. About a dozen years ago, only about 10% of U.S. employers used self-funding for their health coverage. Today, 65% of U.S. employers use self-funding for their health plans according to many studies.

Who Administers a Self-Funded Plan?

Self-insured employers can either administer the claims in-house, or subcontract this service to a third party administrator (TPA). TPAs can also help employers set up their self-insured group health plans and coordinate stop-loss insurance coverage, provider network contracts and utilization review services. Most employers that provide benefits outsource to a third party administrator, fully or in part.

Program Options

MSUB Extended Campus has partnered with the Health Care Administrator Association (HCAA) and Employee Benefit Management Services, Inc. (EBMS) to offer two program options that can prepare you to understand and work in the rapidly growing Healthcare industry with a Third Party Administrator or an employer offering a self-funded health plan.

You can register for either of two options: the Certified Self-Funded Specialist® (CSFS) program offered by HCAA or an advanced option, the Certified Self-Funded Benefits Specialist® (SFBS) program. The SFBS option includes test preparation, additional updated information, hands-on activities and qualifies participants who pass all tests for a professional

*Option #1 - Certified Self-Funded Specialist®

For additional information or to registering for Option 1 below please contact MSU Billings Extended Campus at 406 896-5890

business people in a meetingHCAA has developed a new, exciting training and certification program. The courses and certification are focused on the self-funded benefit model and its associated ERISA framework. Consisting of seven training courses, the certification program culminates in the award of the Certified Self-Funding Specialist® (CSFS®) designation.

The required coursework to obtain the CSFS® certification is brought to you in partnership with the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans (IFEBP), and is delivered online through WebCE, a nationwide leader in continuing education. To earn the CSFS® professional designation, you must successfully complete all seven online course modules. You can view the courses online and print the material from your browser or save to your hard drive, if desired. Best of all, you can study at your own pace, and then complete your final exam for each course online. All testing is from the book meaning no additional industry knowledge is required.

CSFS® certificates are posted on your private CSFS® page and are available for download or print after successfully completing each class

Who Should Consider CSFS® Designation?

Anyone who works or plans to work with a self-funded health care plan will benefit from a CSFS® designation. Comprehensive and insightful, the seven courses cover every aspect that plan sponsors, brokers, employee benefit professionals and other health care professionals need to consider when establishing or maintaining a self-funded health care plan.

 *Option #2 – Self-Funded Benefits Professional (SFBP)

For additional information or to registering for Option 2 below please contact MSU Billings Extended Campus at 406- 896-5890

This option provides a more structured approach to help you earn the CSFS® designation and leads to a certificate as a Self-Funded Benefits Professional. For each of the seven courses in the CSFS® program, instructors from EBMS, one of the nation’s premier industry leaders in health risk management and third party administrators of self-funded group health benefit plans, will provide additional support through:

  • Test preparation
  • Additional updated information important to the field
  • A one-day culminating seminar in Billings

Students who enroll in this option and pass all seven CSFS® exams will also have an opportunity to apply for a professional practicum with EBMS or other approved Third Party Provider.   Individuals who complete all requirements for this option will be awarded a certificate of completion as a Self-Funded Benefits Professional by MSU Billings.

*NOTE: In order to attend the one-day seminar, participants must pass all seven CSFS tests.

Option #2 Program Schedule


Course 2017 Suggested Period for completion of CSFS Course

Course 1

Introduction to Self-Funding, Risk Management and the TPA Environment
January 18th  – February 15th

Course 2

Stop Loss and Marketing in Self-Funding 
February 16th – March 15th

Course 3

Cost Containment and Vendor Selection 
March 16th-April 12th

Course 4

Accounting, Funding and Tax Consequences 
April 13th –May10th

Course 5

Actuarial, Legal, Reporting and Disclosure
May 11th – June 7th

Course #6

State Regulations and Federally Mandated Benefits

June 8th – July 5th

Course #7

July 6th  - August 2nd

Self-Funded Benefits Professional (SFBP)

One Day Seminar in Billings, MT

Monday August 14th  

8:00 Am to 5:00 pm


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Self-Funded Benefits Professional (SFBP) Practicum (optional)

Students who successfully complete all of the courses and pass all tests for the CSFS as part of the Self-Funded Benefits Program will be have the opportunity to apply for a professional practicum at EBMS.  The practicum allows students to interact with professionals from industry and gain practical learning experience and in order to extend and deepen classroom and self-study work. Experiences will vary based upon the needs of the host organization.  The practicum may also serve as a pathway for a job in the field.

The practicum is designed to be a 48 hour experience that occurs over an eight-week period. A typical schedule might be Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2-5 PM.  Depending on the needs of the organization and student, the schedule may be modified provided all hours are completed.