LANSING, Mich. – Michigan’s Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) announced Wednesday that its call center will work remotely to remain available to residents amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in the state.
DIFS says it will continue to assist Michigan consumers with insurance and financial services concerns, especially those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“DIFS’ Office of Consumer Services is working remotely and stands ready to help Michiganders in need of assistance, especially with issues related to their health insurance and other coverages and financial services,” said Director of DIFS Anita Fox. “At a time when consumers may be concerned about the impact of COVID-19 on their lives, DIFS is here to help.”
DIFS call center representatives are available to assist with insurance, banking, credit union, mortgage and other consumer financial concerns, officials say.
DIFS can review complaints against insurance or financial service entities, but encourages consumers to resolve disputes directly with insurance or financial providers, officials said.
Residents can reach the DIFS call center between 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday at 877-999-6442.
DIFS said they are prepared to assist residents with the following:
- Questions about health insurance coverage for COVID-19 treatment or testing
- Concerns about access to telemedicine
- Questions about the servicing of loans or mortgages
- Questions about banks or credit unions and the availability of financial services during the COVID-19 pandemic
- Insurance agent or consumer finance licensing questions
- Questions about insurance policies, grace periods, and premium payment extensions in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic
- Appealing an adverse decision regarding a health care claim under the Patient’s Right to Independent Review Act
How COVID-19 Spreads
The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.
- Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
- Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
Can someone spread the virus without being sick?
- Spread is possible before people show symptoms. People who are not showing symptoms can still be carrying the virus and can still pass it on to other people.
Spread from contact with contaminated surfaces or objects
It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
How easily the virus spreads
How easily a virus spreads from person-to-person can vary. Some viruses are highly contagious (spread easily), like measles, while other viruses do not spread as easily. Another factor is whether the spread is sustained, spreading continually without stopping.
Prevention and Treatment
There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
People who think they may have been exposed to COVID-19 should contact their healthcare provider immediately.
Question about coronavirus? Ask Dr. McGeorge here.