District 9 News & Update

State Senator Paul Wojno

Dear Friends,

I hope your new year has been off to a happy and healthy start. I look forward to continuing to serve this community and hearing about the issues that are important to you in the months to come. Please always feel free to reach out and share your thoughts with me and my office.

Featured in this newsletter are resources for those who may need to file insurance claims for damage due to winter storms, warnings about fake COVID tests, information about open enrollment for the Health Insurance Marketplace, an update from the Elder Abuse Task Force, emergency food assistance benefits, and information about the statewide art contest for kids in grades K-12.

Should you need any help, please do not hesitate to contact my office by phone at (517) 373-8360 or by email at SenPWojno@senate.michigan.gov.

Warmest regards, 

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Paul Wojno
State Senator
District 9


RESOURCES TO HELP FILE WINTER DAMAGE INSURANCE CLAIMS

After the initial joy of a fresh snowfall in Michigan comes the potential frustration of dealing with property damage from bad storms that can sometimes follow. The Department of Insurance and Financial Services’ (DIFS) website features many resources that you may find helpful when working with insurance companies to file a claim and repair damages. DIFS can help answer questions regarding what an insurer must do and help explain policy language when unclear.

Additional information regarding weather preparedness is available on the DIFS website at Michigan.gov/DIFS under the “Consumer” link. Consumers having issues with their insurer or claims process may file a complaint with DIFS at Michigan.gov/DIFScomplaints.

Please feel free to contact the Office of Consumer Services toll free at 877-999-6442 with any questions you may have.

Resources:


BEWARE OF FAKE AT-HOME COVID TESTS BEING SOLD ONLINE

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel is amplifying new warnings related to reports of fake at-home COVID-19 tests being sold online.

Both the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Better Business Bureau (BBB) recently released warnings related to fraudulent tests, so Nessel is reissuing her Websites Selling COVID-Related Products That Are Fake or Never Arrive Consumer Alert to highlight important reminders for consumers.

Remember the following tips from the FTC if you’re shopping online for COVID test kits and related items:

  • Make sure the test you’re buying is authorized by the FDA. Check the FDA’s lists of antigen diagnostic tests and molecular diagnostic tests before you buy to find the tests authorized for home use. (EUA is “emergency use authorization.”)
  • Check out a seller before you buy, especially if you’re buying from a site you don’t know. Search online for the website, company, or seller’s name plus words like “scam,” “complaint,” or “review.”
  • Compare online reviews from a wide variety of websites. You can get a good idea about a company, product, or service from reading user reviews on various retail or shopping comparison sites. Think about the source of the review. Ask yourself: Where is this review coming from? Is it from an expert organization or individual customers?
  • Pay by credit card. If you’re charged for an order you never got, or for a product that’s not as advertised, contact your credit card company and dispute the charge.

Your connection to consumer protection is just a click or phone call away. Consumer complaints can be filed online at the Attorney General’s website, or if you have questions call 877-765-8388.


JAN. 15 IS HEALTH CARE COVERAGE OPEN ENROLLMENT DEADLINE

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) Director Anita Fox are reminding Michiganders to log on to the Health Insurance Marketplace before the January 15 Open Enrollment deadline to get low- or no-cost health insurance for themselves and their families. For most consumers who miss this deadline, the next opportunity to enroll in a new plan is November 2022 with coverage beginning January 2023.

Consumers can choose from a variety of plans and coverage options on the Health Insurance Marketplace. To review available Marketplace plans, visit HealthCare.gov or call 800-318-2596 before the January 15 deadline.


AG NESSEL’S ELDER ABUSE TASK FORCE RELEASES JAN. 2022 NEWSLETTER

On Wednesday, Jan. 12, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel released the Elder Abuse Task Force’s latest newsletter, which highlights the important work that continues to protect our elderly.

The three-page update is now available on the Department of Attorney General’s website. The latest newsletter also provides an update on a bipartisan package of bills introduced in June. The legislation would implement fundamental reforms impacting guardians and conservators-individuals appointed by probate courts to act in the best interests of vulnerable individuals. It is now up to the legislature to move the bills forward.

Michigan’s Elder Abuse Task Force launched in 2019 and consists of more than 55 different organizations in the public, private and nonprofit sections – all working together to combat elder abuse.

Those interested in updates are welcome to subscribe to receive the newsletter.


ADDITIONAL JANUARY EMERGENCY FOOD ASSISTANCE BENEFITS

All Michigan families who are eligible for food assistance benefits are receiving an additional monthly payment in January in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) announced today.

Eligible clients will see additional food assistance benefits on their Bridge Card from Jan. 15-24. These benefits will be loaded onto Bridge Cards as a separate payment from the assistance that is provided earlier in the month.

Eligible families do not need to re-apply to receive additional benefits. People who receive food assistance can check their benefits balance on their Michigan Bridge Card by going online to Michigan.gov/MIBridges or calling a consumer service representative toll-free at 888-678-8914. They can ask questions about the additional benefits by calling or emailing their caseworker.

Customer service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Spanish and Arabic service is also available. If you are deaf, deafblind, or hard of hearing or speech-impaired, call the Michigan Relay Center at 7-1-1.


GOVERNOR ANNOUNCES PRIZE FOR STATE OF THE STATE ART CONTEST

On Tuesday, Jan. 11, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced the details of the prize to be awarded to the winner of the State of the State program cover art contest announced last week. Traditionally, the winner and their family would receive tickets to join the State of the State address. Due to the speech being held remotely this year, the winner will receive a Cherry Republic gift box.

During her virtual State of the State address, scheduled for Jan. 26, Governor Whitmer will share her comprehensive vision for Michigan and a plan to address key issues and put Michigan first, including jobs, education, infrastructure, and Michigan’s strong economic progress.

The art contest challenges K-12 students across Michigan to produce a creative design for the 2022 State of the State program cover following the theme “Why do you believe in Michigan?” Students should be as creative as possible and are welcome to use crayons, markers, paint, or any other material.

This year’s prize is a Cherry Republic Go Fish Gift Box containing:

  • Ruby Red Sour Cherry Patches – 8 oz. bag
  • Iced Imperial Pretzels – 10 oz. Bag
  • Cherry Republic Playing Cards
  • Cherry Republic Nalgene water bottle

To submit your design, please click here and follow the instructions on the webpage. Submissions will be accepted exclusively through the online system and must be received no later than 11:59 PM on Sunday, Jan. 16.

 

As an elected representative, I believe in being readily available and transparent because my office is your office.

Email is a great way to share updates, and hear from you on the issues you care about. If you want to alter your email preferences, click here to unsubscribe.


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