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administrative services only (ASO)

An administrative services only (ASO) program is a group health self-insurance program for large employers wherein the employer assumes responsibility for all the risk, purchasing only administrative services from the insurer.

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Administrative services provided in an ASO program include such activities as the preparation of an administration manual, communication with employees, determination and payment of benefits, preparation of government reports, preparation of summary plan descriptions, and accounting. Most employers would also purchase stop-loss insurance to protect against catastrophic losses.