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Roadmap to a Successful AE – Start Planning Now

Roadmap to a Successful AE – Start Planning Now
Posted on Friday, May 25, 2018 by Paul Sodders
PlanningAhh, the life of a busy benefits administrator. 


Processing new hires, life events, employees who need to take leave and all the reporting (plus payroll) that comes with it.

Not to mention staying on top of ACA requirements (are you reviewing your data monthly or quarterly?) It can make your head spin just thinking about everything on your plate.

With all the moving parts, it may be difficult to start thinking about planning for Annual Enrollment. Despite the spring flowers blooming and the days getting longer, AE is right around the corner and preparing early will save on some unnecessary drama and chaos when fall rolls around.

Let’s be honest, you’ve already started asking the important questions like: what benefits are your employees happy with?  Should you make changes? What can your company offer or change that will help you attract and retain employees into (and beyond) 2019?

With these questions buzzing in your head, now is the time to think about how you can delight your employees with an easy enrollment experience. Don’t panic, let’s look at spreading out the work in snackable items so you don’t feel that famous last-minute rush to get everything done.

The following tasks can be completed months in advance of your annual enrollment date.

Use that data

If you have a benefits administration technology solution, then you are already ahead of the curve. Recent studies have shown that users of this technology are seven times more likely to meet their business objectives. By having access to and leveraging your data, you can better understand how people are choosing and using their benefits. This enables you to develop the strategic benefits program that is essential to your recruiting and retention strategy, along with a plan to better communicate it.

Save the date

You likely already know what your open and close dates are for your next annual enrollment. The sooner you can communicate that to your benefits administration tech team the better. They should be able to take those dates and start building your annual enrollment project plan backwards from the start date, so you know when key deliverables are due, from both you and them, carriers and any other partners. Let the planning begin!

Think like a marketer

If you’re making changes to plans or offerings, be sure you are communicating those benefits to your employees, and make sure to start early. Think about this process as an internal marketing campaign. Break your employees into key audiences and think about how to best communicate with them. Some may prefer email, others a flyer mailed home. You could even use your benefits administration portal to include links to PDFs or include answers to FAQs on the home page. Everyone is different so get creative!


If there are any major changes to wording, dates, links, or contact information that need to be updated for 2019, be sure you get those done as soon as possible to cut down on confusion and ensure a smooth AE. Not making any changes, or very few? Be sure to review the plan rules and benefit access rules early so you can test new plan set ups if needed.

Imagine, relaxing a week (or even two) prior to your annual enrollment open date. It is possible with a little strategy, planning and partnering with your benefits administration technology partner. 

Learn more about annual enrollment strategy below.