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It’s important that public sector organizations with life and/or disability coverage send an annual census to their insurance carrier at least once a year. Employers want their enrollment records to match the carrier’s records, ensuring that no one falls through the cracks. What if an employee was going to go out on disability, only to find out the insurance carrier doesn't have them on the insurance policy? What if an employee died, but left no life insurance benefit to their family because the carrier didn’t have them listed as covered? A census can also help employers avoid claim and billing issues and receive their renewal information in a timely manner.
An insurance underwriter uses the census information (demographics) to determine the renewal rates. If your coverage is salary-based, make sure that salaries are kept updated as well.
If you have a multi-year rate guarantee, it is still recommended that you submit an annual census. Groups often make changes to their plans such as a change in the benefit amount or other plan provisions. Maintaining accurate information on an on-going basis will help the underwriter easily calculate any rate impact your change has during your rate guarantee period.
The census information you provide to your insurance carrier is used to calculate your premiums (how many eligible employees, coverages each person elects, etc.) Census information is in a constant flux with new hires and terminations happening regularly. If the information is not updated, you could be paying premiums on employees who are no longer active (retired, terminated, etc.).
- For list-billed groups, the premium statement should reflect those employees eligible for coverage and the correct benefit amounts. It’s important to keep this information up-to-date (including current salaries) so it accurately reflects what you owe.
- For self-billed groups, an annual census will help the insurance carrier validate those enrolled in the plan and analyze the premiums being paid. It can help to identify over/underpayments and make the proper adjustments.
- If your coverages are salary-based, your census should include updated salaries.
- If you have a multi-year rate guarantee, a census is still recommended so that records match and premiums are remitted accurately.
To keep claim paperwork moving through the approval process, make sure that current salary information is on file with the carrier. If the information on file doesn’t match the claim paperwork, this may cause delays in processing and payment. Read more about the disability claims process.
Best Time to Submit a Census
The best time to submit a census depends upon your type of organization.
- Cities and counties should submit a census shortly after the beginning of each calendar or fiscal year.
- Groups with an annual enrollment period should provide a census after the close of their annual enrollment period.
- School districts should give information to the carrier after their salary changes and enrollment information is known for the new school year (August-November each year).
You can submit your census information to your insurance carrier in Excel format. Include the following information:
- Employee full name
- Social security number
- Date of birth
- Date of hire
- Hours worked per time period (specify day, week, month, or year)
- Occupation/insurance classification
- Annual salary (not pro-rated) if any coverage is based on salary, limited to a multiple of salary or cannot exceed a percentage of earnings
- Effective date of last change (salary or class change)
- Basic life, employee supplemental life, and spouse life volumes, if applicable
- Indication of dependent life coverage, if applicable
- Indication of long-term disability coverage, if applicable
- Indication of short-term disability coverage, if applicable
For more information on this topic, contact your National Insurance Services Representative.