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  • Writer's pictureBenelogic

And Then There Were Three

Supporting the X non-binary code for benefits administration.

Image depicting, a female symbol, an ex, or non-gender symbol, and a male symbol

In 2021, we shared our position on collecting binary gender selection in the system, explaining that we had to follow what upstream and downstream systems allowed. While most traditional payroll and HR systems still only collect binary values for gender, we are seeing the insurance vendor community start to shift. 

The shift is by no means universal, but as momentum and demand builds, it’s likely to become normalized in data standards. This means that Benelogic can finally start to alter our position on data collection and what that means at a practical level. Benelogic now supports the use of M, F, and X as allowed genders in the system. While this may not be as varied and broad as some members of the non-binary community may like, it sets the foundation for future modifications as they trickle down through and are supported by electronic data interchanges.

Some, not all, larger insurance carriers are now accepting a value of “unknown” when data is sent to them.  For those carriers, X would be mapped to Unknown.  On the back-end processing, it may error out and require a manual override. For others, the system will process “unknown” but flag the account for additional outreach. The carrier staff would reach out to better understand their specific healthcare needs.  While this process doesn’t feel ideal, it keeps the employer out of the conversation, which is more appropriate for privacy and HIPAA concerns.

Next Steps for Employers

If an employer is interested in supporting non-binary gender values at their carrier, the first step is to reach out to their carrier(s) and inquire. The client contract holder is best positioned to demand changes in processes and standards. Once a clear understanding of system flexibility and downstream ripple effects is established, reach out to your designated advocate at your online benefit management company. 

We follow where the data leads us.

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