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Newsletter from Rep. Ellen Cogen Lipton


State Representative Ellen Cogen Lipton
27th House District
Sept. 5, 2012

Greetings friends and neighbors,

I hope this e-newsletter finds you still enjoying last few days of our great Michigan summer and the start of a new school year! I know that sometimes the transition from summer to school can be stressful for both children and parents. I appreciate your taking the time to stay updated on happenings here in Lansing and in the 27th District so that, together, we can make our communities vibrant and connected! It is still summer recess at the Capitol, which allows me to spend more time in the district with all of you. If you have any concerns or need assistance, feel free to call my office and set up a meeting in the district!

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In This Issue:

Coffee Hours: Thursday, Sept. 13 from 6-7p.m. at the Ferndale Public Library

Community News: 9/11 is National Day of Service, Free Help to Avoid Foreclosure, Safe Lunch Packing Guidelines to Protect Your Children from Foodborne Illnesses, Insurance Tips for College Students

Coffee Hours

Please join me for conversation during my coffee hours with special guest Senator Vincent Gregory on Thursday, Sept. 13 at the Ferndale Public Library located at 222 E. Nine Mile Road in Ferndale from 6-7 p.m.

Community News:

9/11 is NATIONAL DAY OF SERVICE

The Sept. 11 National Day of Service and Remembrance is the culmination of an effort launched in 2002 by 9/11 family members and support groups. It became officially recognized following the passage of the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act of April 2009.

As a positive way to forever remember and pay tribute to the victims of Sept. 11, honor those that rose in service in response to the attacks, and to remind people of the importance of working more closely together to improve our world, the Michigan Community Service Commission (MCSC), Michigan Nonprofit Association (MNA), Volunteer Centers of Michigan (VCM), Michigan Campus Compact (MCC), and The LEAGUE Michigan, will observe Sept. 11, 2012, as a National Day of Service and Remembrance. They invite you to serve, honor, and remember alongside us on this historic day. For more information, please go to http://michigan.gov/mcsc.

Free Help to Avoid Foreclosure

On Tuesday, Sept. 11th, there will be the Help for Homeowners Community Event in the Marriott at the Renaissance Center in Detroit (400 Renaissance Drive, Detroit 48243). The event runs from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. and is designed for homeowners struggling with foreclosure. The Obama Administration’s Making Home Affordable Program, HOPE NOW and several local, nonprofit partners and state agencies will afford homeowners the unique opportunity to meet directly with their mortgage servicer and/or a HUD-approved housing counselor to find alternatives to foreclosure. There will be free parking for this event at the Beaubien Street garage. For more information, please go to at www.hopenow.com and www.makinghomeaffordable.gov.

Safe Lunch Packing Guidelines to Protect Your Children from Foodborne Illnesses

The following guidelines are recommended by both the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD):

Before packing lunches, wash your hands with warm, soapy water for at least 20 seconds.
Wash cutting boards, dishes, utensils and countertops with hot, soapy water after preparing each food item and before the next item.
Use at least two ice sources (two ice packs or one ice pack and one frozen water bottle or juice box) to keep perishable food items cold.
Use insulated containers to best keep cold foods cold and hot foods hot.
Avoid having leftovers by not over-packing perishable food items.
Discard used paper bags and used food packaging. When reheating leftovers, cover food for safe, even heating and to hold in moisture.
Food items that don’t require refrigeration include: whole fruits and vegetables, hard cheese, canned meat and fish, breads, crackers, peanut butter, jelly, mustard, and pickles.
For more food safety information and tips on packing a safe lunch, visit www.foodsafety.gov or www.michigan.gov/foodsafety.

Insurance Tips for College Students

Along with finding a place to live and where their classes are, college students need a quick lesson in how to use their insurance while away at school. There are also a few things that parents should check before students leave home. The Office of Financial and Insurance Regulation (OFIR) offers these tips on places to start your student’s insurance checkup:

Health Insurance

Coverage through a Parent’s Health Plan:

Most health insurance plans offering dependent coverage must make that coverage available to dependent children until they reach age 26. Both married and unmarried dependents qualify for this coverage, and the dependent does not have to be a student. This does not apply to retiree-only plans and, until 2014, if the parent’s coverage is through an employer, and the dependent is eligible for coverage through their own job, the parent’s plan may not be required to provide coverage.

It is also important to know how a college student not living at home can utilize their existing coverage through a Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) or a Preferred Provider Organization (PPO). For example, a student covered by an HMO may be living outside the HMO service area of physicians and hospitals. If this occurs, the student would have coverage for emergency care, but may have to travel to a physician or hospital within the service area for other care. Similarly, a health carrier may pay benefits at out-of-network levels for students who obtain services from a provider outside a PPO network. Check your plan provisions, or speak with your health carrier or benefits administrator to find out the level of benefits provided when a student is away at school and located outside the service area.

Be sure the college student has a copy of the relevant insurance cards and knows how to obtain any required approvals before seeking treatment.

Student Health Insurance Plans:

Students who do not have health coverage through a parent’s policy, or who have limited coverage due to network service areas, may opt to purchase a student health insurance plan. Additionally, some schools may require a student to have proof of health coverage as part of registration. Student health plans are sold by an insurer that has contracted with a college to offer coverage to its students. In general, these plans have more limited benefits and more exclusions than traditional health coverage plans.

Dental and Eye Care:

Routine dental care and eye care generally are not included as part of a health insurance plan, although many will cover emergency non-cosmetic dental work that is medically necessary due to an accident. Some plans may include limited coverage for dental procedures, such as the removal of wisdom teeth, if performed in a hospital. Finally, most plans do not cover expenses related to periodic eye examinations, glasses or contact lenses. In general, health insurance plans do cover medical care as a result of an eye disease or injury.

Michigan consumers can find answers to all of their health insurance questions through OFIR’s Health Insurance Consumer Assistance Program (HICAP). Consumers can visit www.michigan.gov/HICAP or call the toll-free consumer hotline 877-999-6442.

Renter’s Insurance

Whether students live in college housing or rental properties, they will likely have valuables - such as a computer, TV, stereo and/or video game system - that could be stolen or destroyed in a fire or natural disaster. Parents should check with their agent to determine whether their homeowners’ policy will cover a college student’s possessions or if renter’s insurance is needed.

Auto Insurance

Parents and college students should do some homework regarding auto insurance. If a college student is going to be using the family vehicle when visiting home, parents should make sure the child is listed by name on the family’s auto insurance policy. If the student will be taking a car to school, parents should check with their agent to learn their company’s rules and determine whether it would be necessary to buy a separate policy in the city and state in which the student will be living.

Contact me

I truly value hearing your thoughts on the issues that matter to you and your family. Please feel free to contact me any time toll-free at (888) DIST027, email me at ellenlipton@house.mi.gov, or visit my website, www.house.mi.gov/elipton.

Sincerely,

State Representative Ellen Cogen Lipton
27th House District