The last thing any of us wants to hear is, “We’re going to be audited!” We all face scrutiny in one fashion or another—whether it’s CPAs examining our financial statements, the NCQA reviewing the quality of care provided to covered members, or maybe even the IRS checking our tax returns. On a different scale, Summit Re began a review process in 2006 to test the premium paid on its reinsurance and stop loss contracts. Typically, our clients submit premiums on a monthly basis using remittance statements we provide at the start of the agreement year. You simply fill in the number of members at the beginning of the month, multiply that by the applicable premium rates, and send payment for the result. And when it’s received by our accounting department, we review the statement for accuracy—to verify that the correct rates were used and to determine if the census fluctuated significantly from prior month—before forwarding it to the reinsurer. The same process is followed for both HMO reinsurance and stop loss premium.
But up until now, we’ve not tested the underlying data, the membership numbers used to calculate premium. Our reinsurers, in audits of our own operations, thought that such reviews make good business practice, and we agreed. While we trust our clients to submit the appropriate premium agreed upon in the contract, it still makes sense to verify it once in a while.
Now, we won’t visit every client, nor will we come calling every year. Rather, we’ll select a few each year for review and travel to your offices to examine the source documentation. While it’s tempting to schedule clients located in the south for review during February (after all, we are in Indiana), we’ll likely perform the reviews in the summer after the busy winter and spring activity have subsided. And we’ll promise that we’ll be as efficient as possible. Generally, all we need is a couple of days to complete our work.
So, there’s no reason to panic if you get a call saying that we’d like to come and verify your premium numbers…you can save that for when the IRS letter arrives!