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The annual enrollment period for health, dental, vision, basic and term life, long-term care and optional special accident programs is underway and continues through October 15.

During this time, all regular employees working at least 75 percent time can enroll in programs, change providers or options, add dependents, and cancel coverage.

No action is required if you are satisfied with your current benefit selections. But it’s still a good idea to look through the information and check provider networks to make sure your preferred doctors, hospitals and centers are still in-network.

The decisions you make during the enrollment period are effective January 1 through Dec. 31, 2016.

Detailed information about programs, processes and changes is included in the state of Tennessee’s 2016 Decision Guide and also on the UT System Payroll Office website.

New for 2016: Four Health Insurance Plans to Fit Your Needs

In addition to the Partnership PPO and Standard PPO health plans, two new plans are available that feature lower monthly premiums and tax-free health savings accounts that can be used to pay the plans’ higher deductibles. All four plans:

Provide the same comprehensive health insurance coverage

Cover preventive care (annual well visit, routine screenings and tests) in-network at no cost to you

Offer the same provider networks and discounts

Include pharmacy coverage

Everyone’s needs are different, and there’s a lot to consider when deciding which plan is right for you. Read through the scenarios included in the decision guide linked above and take advantage of a new online benefits expert tool that will recommend a plan based on your situation.

Other Changes for 2016

Monthly health insurance premiums for the PPO plans reflect increases of 3.5 percent—that’s between $4 and $10.50 a month depending on the plan you select. But monthly premiums are now the same for both providers (BlueCross and Cigna) and for East, Middle and West Tennessee.

The pharmacy lower-cost, 90-day maintenance tier has been expanded to include medications to treat asthma, depression, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, additional anti-hypertensives for coronary artery disease and congestive heart failure.

The co-pay for convenience clinics has been lowered to the same level as a primary care visit.

The co-pay for urgent care centers has been raised to the same level as a specialist visit.

Chiropractic coverage is limited to fifty visits a year.

Dental plan providers have changed. The prepaid dental vendor is Cigna, and the dental preferred provider vendor is MetLife.

The deadline to enroll and/or make changes for 2016 is 5:30 p.m. October 15, unless you have a qualifying event or family status change during the year.

Instructions for using the state’s self-service website are available, and login and password information is being mailed to home addresses.

If you do not receive this information or are having trouble using the state’s online system, call (844) 330-9100.

Questions also can be directed to local campus or institute insurance offices or to the UT System Payroll Office at (865) 974-5251. UT cannot access your health information but may be able to help in other ways.