Drivers who rely on health insurance to pay for auto injuries may be responsible for their own medical bills if they lose or change their health insurance

DIFS: Make Sure Your Health and Auto Insurance Policies Work Together to Protect Yourself and Your Family

Drivers who rely on health insurance to pay for auto injuries may be responsible for their own medical bills if they lose or change their health insurance

Media Contact: Laura Hall, 517-290-3779,
Consumer Hotline: 833-ASK-DIFS,

From: DIFS Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services


(LANSING, MICH) The Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) is reminding Michiganders that if someone in their household does not have Personal Injury Protection (PIP) medical coverage, a change in their health insurance can also affect their auto insurance coverage. Under Michigan’s auto insurance law that went into effect in 2020, eligible Michiganders may now choose to opt out of or exclude themselves or family members from PIP medical, but they must take quick action after a change in health insurance or they risk not having medical coverage in the event of an auto accident.

“Your auto insurance may not be the first thing that comes to mind if you lose your health insurance, but Michiganders may now rely on their health insurance coverage for auto accident injuries and they must take quick action to protect themselves and their families after a change,” said DIFS Director Anita Fox. “There can be serious financial consequences if someone in your household does not have PIP medical coverage, loses their qualified health coverage, and is then injured in an auto accident without taking the appropriate action.”

Michigan’s auto insurance law now gives Michigan drivers the chance to choose from six different PIP medical coverage levels when they buy or renew their auto insurance. PIP covers medical bills and other expenses for those who are injured in an auto accident.

For people who have Qualified Health Coverage (QHC), two options allow them to remove PIP medical coverage for themselves and/or eligible household members. To count as QHC, the driver’s health insurance policy must not exclude or limit coverage for auto accident injuries and must have an individual deductible of $6,000 or less. Medicare Parts A and B or Medicare Advantage also count as QHC, but VA Health Benefits do not.

If a person who has been excluded from PIP has a change in their health coverage, they may have no medical coverage in the event of an auto accident. To prevent this from happening, DIFS is urging Michiganders who have a health insurance change in their household to A.C.T.:

  • A – Ask your auto insurance company or agent about your PIP medical coverage choice and find out if you need QHC to maintain your current selection.
  • C – Contact your health insurer to determine if your new policy counts as QHC and to get an updated QHC letter.
  • T -Tell your auto insurance company immediately if you lose your QHC. You have 30 days to obtain replacement health insurance or make a different PIP medical selection, or you risk not having medical coverage for yourself and your family in the event of a crash.

Drivers who do not secure replacement PIP medical coverage or QHC will not be entitled to any PIP medical benefits after 30 days, potentially making them personally responsible for their own medical bills in the event of an auto accident.

The mission of the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services is to ensure access to safe and secure insurance and financial services fundamental for the opportunity, security, and success of Michigan residents, while fostering economic growth and sustainability in both industries. In addition, the Department provides consumer protection, outreach, and financial literacy and education services to Michigan residents. For more information, visit or follow the Department on FacebookTwitter, or LinkedIn.

Consumers with questions about auto insurance can contact DIFS Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 833-ASK-DIFS (833-275-3437) or visit


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Carlos Garcia Marketplace Circle of Champions

Shield Agent Carlos Martinez Garcia Awarded Elite level of the 2022 Marketplace Circle of Champions

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
Center for Consumer Information & Insurance Oversight
200 Independence Avenue SW
Washington, DC 20201

Shield Insurance Agent Carlos Martinez Garcia reached the Elite level of the 2022 Marketplace Circle of Champions by helping more than 100 consumers actively apply for and enroll in coverage!

The year-round efforts of agents and brokers play an important role in helping Americans access coverage and we are continually impressed by the dedication and commitment Carlos shows to consumers during the busy Open Enrollment Period.

This is an outstanding achievement! We thank Carlos for the trusted advice, support, and assistance you provide throughout the year to Shield Insurance Agency clients.

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U.S. saw its 4th-warmest year on record, fueled by a record-warm December - Shield Insurance Agency Blog

U.S. saw its 4th-warmest year on record, fueled by a record-warm December

Nation struck with 20 separate billion-dollar disasters in 2021 | January 10, 2022

On September 4, 2021, the Joint Base Lewis-McChord Soldiers and the Bureau of Land Management-California’s Folsom Lake Veterans Hand Crew constructed a handline, cleared brush, and dealt with hot spots north of Lake Davis and Portola during the largest wildfire of 2021–California’s Dixie Fire. The western wildfires of 2021 were one of 20 separate billion-dollar disasters that struck the United States last year. (Joe Bradshaw/Bureau of Land Management)

The year 2021 was marked by extremes across the U.S., including exceptional warmth, devastating severe weather and the second-highest number of billion-dollar weather and climate disasters on record.  

The nation also saw an active wildfire year across the West as the north Atlantic Basin stayed busy with its third most-active Atlantic hurricane season on record, according to scientists from NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information.

Here’s a recap of the climate and extreme weather events across the U.S. in 2021:

Climate by the numbers

December 2021 | Full year 2021 

The December contiguous U.S. temperature was 39.3 degrees F, 6.7 degrees above average, making it the warmest December on record and exceeding the previous warmest December in 2015.

Ten states — Alabama, Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas — also had their warmest Decembers on record.

For 2021, the average contiguous U.S. temperature was 54.5 degrees F, 2.5 degrees above the 20th-century average and ranked as the fourth-warmest year in the 127-year period of record. The six warmest years on record have all occurred since 2012.

Maine and New Hampshire had their second-warmest year on record with 19 additional states across the Northeast, Great Lakes, Plains and West experiencing a top-five warmest year. Meanwhile, Alaska’s average annual temperature was 26.4 degrees F, 0.4 of a degree above the long-term average and the coldest year since 2012.

Precipitation across the contiguous U.S. totaled 30.48 inches (0.54 of an inch above average), which placed 2021 in the middle third of the climate record. Massachusetts had its ninth-wettest year on record, while Montana ranked ninth driest on record for 2021.

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, drought coverage remained fairly significant and steady throughout much of 2021, with a minimum extent of 43.4% occurring on May 25 and maximum coverage of 55.5% on December 7.

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5 Ways to Stay Warm During a Winter Power Outage - Shield Insurance Agency Blog

5 Ways to Stay Warm During a Winter Power Outage | By Paul Hope | Published February 18, 2021 | Updated January 5, 2022

  • Never use a generator indoors or within 20 feet of your house.
  • Have working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms on every floor.
  • If you use your car to stay warm or charge devices, make sure it’s outside the garage.
  • Never use a device (such as an oven) to produce heat unless that’s its intended purpose.
  • Indoor portable heaters should have an automatic shutoff switch in case they tip over.

Winter storms leave thousands of Americans without power each year, but there are several steps you can take to stay warm and safe.

The biggest threat from a power outage, of course, is the lack of heat. But even during an extended outage, there are ways to survive the cold.

The danger is that some alternative heating systems pose their own threats, such as fire and carbon monoxide. But there are precautions you can take to minimize the danger.

Here are five ways to stay warm—and safe—during a power outage.

1. If You Can, Get a Generator

Even if you’ve already lost power, it’s not too late to look for a portable generator. Sales always spike during weather emergencies, but it’s still worth trying.

Some major retailers have told CR that they’re able to reallocate the supply of generators to affected areas in as little as a day or two. A good strategy is to show up early at a store to grab one before they’re sold out.

If you’re fortunate enough to find a portable generator, use our guide to get it up and running quickly and safely. Once the outage is over, hire an electrician to install a transfer switch or interlock device so that the generator can power entire circuits in your home, which is both safer and more helpful.

If you can’t find a portable generator at a home center or power equipment dealer, try looking for a recreational generator at places like Dick’s Sporting Goods and Walmart, or even at a local RV or boat dealership.

These smaller generators aren’t really designed for power outages, but their output of 1,800 to 2,000 watts is still enough to power a large space heater and charge cell phones, which may be enough to get you through an outage.How to Run a Generator Safely

2. Stay in a Southern-Facing Room

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22 Tiny Mental Health Habits That Can Improve Your Life In 2022 - Shield Insurance Agency Blog

22 Tiny Mental Health Habits That Can Improve Your Life In 2022 | By Amber Gibson12/28/2021 06:44pm EST

Self-care won’t solve every problem, but these quick and easy activities may at least bring some happiness to your day.

Another roller coaster year is coming to an end, and the lingering effects of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic have certainly taken a collective toll on our mental health.

There’s no way to know what 2022 has in store for us, nor can self-care erase the grief, trauma or other challenges we may have endured over the last 12 months. But as we look toward the new year, we can adopt healthy new habits to help incrementally improve our days, even if just for a moment. Sometimes, that’s more than enough.

Below are 22 happiness tips to try in the new year:

Start a gratitude journal.

This only takes a few minutes. Recording positive things about your day, whether major achievements or simple pleasures, can reduce stress, improve sleep and even foster better relationships by building a sense of empathy.

“There is no right or wrong way to write a journal, but I recommend that this becomes a daily exercise,” 

John Lee, director of clinical psychology at Executive Mental Health.

Lee suggests journaling at the same time each day, whether before dinner or before bed, and identifying at least one item for daily gratitude.

Take five deep breaths.

“Stress has many physical manifestations,” explained Amanda Goldstein, a psychiatrist in California. This can include issues like stomachaches or other digestive problems.

“By changing your breathing pattern, you can trick your brain into suppressing your fight-or-flight sympathetic nervous system and increase your parasympathetic activity, or rest and digest. Not only will this make you feel calmer, but it will also help you digest your lunch better.”

Keep a light therapy lamp on your desk.

“Your circadian rhythm regulates your sleep-wake cycle, which affects bodily functions and behavioral responses,” Goldstein said. “Exposure to sunlight, especially first thing in the morning, helps keep your clock on time. Since most of us work indoors, a light therapy lamp serves this purpose and gives a nice boost in energy and mood. And as an added bonus, it provides excellent lighting for video calls.” (Here’s how to use one properly.)

Drink water.

Our bodies are made up of 60% water, yet up to 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated.

Sara Cullen, founder and CEO of GEM, said drinking enough water daily helps boost her mood. “Water is the essence of us and what we need in order for our micronutrients and functions to operate,” she said.

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Managing Diabetes is an Uphill Climb

Managing Diabetes is an Uphill Climb


Giving support to those you love can make all the difference.

Diabetes affects millions, but its impact goes far beyond that.

It affects everyone—family, friends, and loved ones.

When a family member, especially a child, is diagnosed, it sends an emotional shockwave. What are the medical costs? What about getting proper care? How can you help manage diabetes at school? Suddenly, you have the world on your shoulders. But you also have support. There are countless ways to help your loved ones live a healthy, happy life. Reach out and ask for help: we have it for you here.

Talk to a health care provider

Too often, it can be hard to know where to start when you find out someone you love has been diagnosed with diabetes. Ask your healthcare provider what you can do to keep your loved one safe and healthy. Reach out to other parents or family members who have been impacted by this disease. You are now part of a worldwide community. And asking for help is the first step in supporting your loved one’s journey to health.

Parents: it’s a challenge you can meet head on

Hearing that your child or loved one has diabetes can be a shock. But after that shock wears off, know that there are plenty of things you can do to help along the way. Sure, daily life with diabetes can be a challenge, but it’s a challenge you can meet head on.

With planning and preparation, you can get back to daily life and resume your routine activities. You can help make physical activity part of every day. You can create a balanced eating plan for your loved one—one that everyone can live with and thrive on. Throughout it all, know that diabetes can’t keep your loved one from doing whatever they want or achieving their highest goals. There are Olympic athletes with diabetes, as well as professional football players, politicians, actors, rock stars and CEOs. So, take a deep breath. You can do so much to make sure the people you love are thriving as they manage their diabetes.

Keep them safe at school

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Georgia’s youngest farmer, Kendall Rae Johnson, is only 6 years old, and she loves ‘playing in the dirt’

By Lee Alexander and Chiamaka Ofulue, CNN

Updated 9:53 AM ET, Sun January 9, 2022

(CNN) At just 6 years old, Kendall Rae Johnson is making history as the youngest certified farmer in Georgia. Kendall Rae says her love of farming comes from her great grandmother Kate Johnson. “She taught me all kinds of stuff about gardening. Like, how collard greens grow — you start with a stem and put it in the dirt and it grows,” the young girl said.

 A 2-year-old from California is the youngest American to become a member of Mensa

Ursula Johnson, her mother, has only encouraged Kendall Rae’s love of gardening.

“When we found out that she really enjoyed this whole process of putting a seed in and seeing something come out of it, we were like, ‘Okay we have her interest,’ ” she said. So, for her fourth birthday, Kendall Rae’s parents built her a small patio garden at their home in Atlanta and threw her a garden party.

Two years later, Kendall Rae’s patio garden has grown into a small backyard farm that produces carrots, sweet potatoes, strawberries, okra, tomatoes, blueberries and even Carolina Reapers. “It’s a scary name for a pepper,” Kendall Rae said, “because it makes your mouth real hot.”

For Kendall Rae, who is home schooled, the backyard farm also doubles as her classroom. “She’s learning hands-on and then she’s able to bring it into the house and do school work, because she still needs to know her a-b-c’s,” her mother said. “There is always a lesson in digging in the dirt.””I like playing in the dirt because it makes me happy. It makes me want to garden and share it with my friends,” Kendall Rae said.

Check out the rest of this adorable story at CNN

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Healthcare Enrollment Ends Soon - Shield Insurance Agency Blog

Healthcare Enrollment Ends Soon

The Deadline to register for healthcare ends January 15th.

Let Carlos with Shield Insurance Agency get you signed up and covered.

You can call or text 616.777.3017 or email Carlos and get covered today!

Need other insurance? Shield Insurance Agency is locally owned and operated for over 20 years and can help with all your insurance needs!

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6 Anti-inflammatory Foods You Should Be Eating - Shield Insurance Agency Blog

6 Anti-inflammatory Foods You Should Be Eating | By: Alia Hoyt  |  Updated: Feb 11, 2021

You’ve probably heard that anti-inflammatory foods are good for you, but why? And how can they help you anyway?

First, it’s important to understand what bodily inflammation is, and why it can be harmful. In fact, there are actually two types: acute and chronic. The former is nothing to get too worked up over. “Acute inflammation is part of healing and is a normal, healthy response to injury or infection,” says registered dietitian Jean LaMantia in an email interview.

Basically, whenever your body recognizes something that is foreign – such as a microbe, pollen or a chemical, it goes to work to get rid of it. It does this by activating your immune system which triggers a process called inflammation. Inflammation helps to get rid of the offending organism.

But sometimes this inflammation continues even when there isn’t a foreign invader. That’s called chronic inflammation.

“Chronic inflammation starts out as acute, but then doesn’t shut off. This creates a new environment at the area of injury, as the inflammatory messengers tell the body’s cells to die off and replace themselves with new cells,” says LaMantia. “With this rapid cell turnover, there is greater likelihood of a cell with a genetic defect to appear.” Chronic inflammation is linked to a higher risk of cancerdiabetesasthma, depression, metabolic syndrome and atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), among other problems, she notes.

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How to Have More Fun — and Why It Matters - Shield Insurance Agency Blog

How to Have More Fun — and Why It Matters

Advice from the author of ‘The Power of Fun’ on living a more joyful life

by Catherine Price, AARP, December 14, 2021

En español

There is a common belief among people of all ages that the main obstacle standing between us and a joyful existence is the lack of free time. We tell ourselves that if we had more leisure time — whether through retirement or a vacation or even just an unscheduled long weekend — we would be happier, with no thought or effort required.

You already may have discovered this yourself: You work extra hours to “earn” your vacation, only to spend your time at the beach restlessly checking your email. Or you finally retire and are surprised to find that the lack of regular interaction with colleagues leaves you feeling lonely rather than relaxed.

In extreme cases, you might even find yourself experiencing what psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl described, rather dramatically, in his 1946 book, Man’s Search for Meaning, as “Sunday neurosis” — namely, “that kind of depression which afflicts people who become aware of the lack of content in their lives when the rush of the busy week is over and the void within themselves becomes manifest.”

The problem is that most of us haven’t learned how to use our leisure time effectively — and so it ends up feeling boring or unfulfilling rather than satisfying and joyful. So how, exactly, can you learn how to use your leisure time more effectively and avoid falling into an existential void?

You focus on fun.

I know that might sound counterintuitive, but hear me out. Despite how often we use the word, most of us have not put much thought into what “fun” actually means — let alone how to have more of it.  

As a result, we often fill our leisure time (and, for that matter, our internal voids!) with activities that have been marketed to us as fun but that, upon reflection, often leave us feeling numb or empty — which is not what most of us are hoping to feel at any time, let alone during supposed leisure.

The TV trap

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