The Further Breaking Down of Census Data!

Key Benefit ConceptsActuarial, Services

Although a census data request from your actuary for an upcoming Other Post-Employment Benefits (OPEB) valuation may seem straightforward at first glance, it is not always so clear-cut. It may be early February, but the valuation date is 6/30. What date should the census data be as of? Do you include part-time or seasonal employees? If someone is expected to retire this month, should they be listed as an active employee or a retiree? These are just a few examples of the questions we receive when requesting census data.

Generally, your actuary (as does KBC) will provide you with a data request/collection form wherein there are additional details as to how the census data should be prepared. For KBC, we prefer the census data “to be as of the valuation date”. In other words, we want the active and retiree census information to be representative of your district as it moves into the fiscal year following the valuation date.

As an example, let’s consider a school district whose fiscal year begins 7/1 and has an upcoming OPEB valuation with a valuation date of 6/30/2022. Typically, unless otherwise specified, the active and retiree censuses should be prepared following these guidelines, respectively:

  • Active census: Include employees newly hired for the 2022/23 school year, exclude employees that left the District after the 2021/22 school year (retirement, termination, etc.), and prepare census data fields that are subject to change (e.g., salary information, job classification, health coverage status, etc.) as of the beginning of the 2022/23 school year..
  • Retiree census: Include any retirees/surviving spouses who are receiving benefits from the District following the valuation date (6/30/2022). This includes anyone whose benefits are ending at some point during the 2022/23 fiscal year and also anyone whose benefits are starting later in the 2022/23 fiscal year. Additionally, a health insurance self-pay/COBRA census should follow the same guidelines.

Providing quality census data is a crucial step in the valuation process. If you have any questions or concerns in regards to preparing this information, it is usually best to reach out to your actuary for assistance.