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  • Coronavirus (COVID-19) - Bill Payment Forbearance & Grace Periods (updated 4/7/2020)

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    Thank you for doing your part to slow the spread of the corona virus and flatten the curve. However, as we practice self-isolation and social distancing, there are a lot of economic concerns that have arisen like loan, credit card and insurance payments. Enclosed we have included information and links about loan and bill payments, forbearance and grace periods.

    Please take some time to review the information and resources below. If you have any questions, or if you need help understanding if a service or program applies to you, please contact our office by phone at (562) 861-5803 or by email at assemblymember.garcia@assembly.ca.gov.    My number one recommendation is that you contact any company directly and let them know how COVID-19 has affected you, and ask them to work with you to create a plan that fits your unique circumstances. You can also visit our website to help you connect to services, including meal services, remote learning, unemployment and family leave, and various other services. We are here to help.

    Table of Contents
    Mortgages/Banking
    American Bankers Association
    • Created a website to track the policies of various banks in responding to COVID-19. Banks and other creditors are ready to assist customers based on their individual circumstances. If constituents are having trouble paying any loan, the best advice is for them to contact their creditor directly and ask for relief from scheduled payments.
    • Constituents should be prepared to provide specific information about how their income has changed due to COVID-19.
    • This advice applies to constituents with any type of credit product, including credit cards, car loans, residential mortgages, small business loans, commercial real estate loans, and student loans. Constituents can also ask their bank to waive overdraft or other checking account fees due to financial hardships created by COVID-19.
    Follow this link to search for specific bank policies regarding credit products: Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) Fannie Mae
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    Federal Student Loans
    • The federal government announced that federal student loan payments can be deferred for 60 days and interest rates will temporarily be reduced to 0%. Track updates on federal student loan policies on the Federal Student Aid website.

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    Car Payments
    CarMax Auto Finance
    • Customers who have been negatively impacted by illness due to COVID-19 and need additional assistance with their account should contact CarMax's customer service team at (800)925-3612 or via their website.
    Smaller Used Car Dealerships
    • Smaller used car dealerships should be contacted on a case by case basis to inquire about payment deferral due to financial hardship caused by COVID-19.
    Car Payment Relief During Coronavirus
    • Several automakers are currently offering payment deferrals for customers experiencing financial hardship. The following have programs for people hit with financial hardship due to COVID-19; Hyundai, Ford, Lincoln, Nissan, Infinity, Toyota, Lexus, General Motors (Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, Cadillac), BMW, Mini, Honda, and Acura.
    • Visit the Edmunds website for a complete list.
    Note:
    • Some car companies have stipulations on deferment programs. For example, you must have financed through their financial services. Those who have financed through a banking institution, are recommended to contact said institution to figure out their relief program for COVID-19 impacts.

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    Health Insurance
    • Eliminated patient cost-sharing and surprise bills including:
      • Co-pays, deductibles, coinsurance for medically necessary screening and testing. This applies to both emergency room and doctor visits, for the purposes of being screened or tested for COVID-19
    • Companies waive costs for screening and testing of COVID-19.
    • Insurance Companies had to submit an emergency plan by Friday, March 20 on prescriptions, maximizing telehealth, and ensuring network provider adequacy.
    • Uninsured Californians are urged to purchase insurance to protect their health.
    Covered California
    • Covered California is currently open. If you are already enrolled and are now earning less money as a result of the coronavirus, please visit their website for additional assistance with payments.
      • Effective Friday, March 20, Covered California opened the state's health insurance benefits exchange to eligible uninsured individuals who need health care coverage through June 30, 2020.
      • Applicants will have access to private health coverage plans with monthly premiums that may be lowered due to federal and new state financial help.

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    All Other Insurance
    • Insurers were asked to maintain insurance coverage and driver discounts to consumers with expired licenses.
    • 60-day grace period to pay insurance premiums including, life, health, auto, property, casualty, and other types of insurance.
    Auto Insurance
    • Department of Motor Vehicles asked law enforcement to exercise discretion for 60 days in their enforcement of driver license and vehicle registration expirations beginning March 16, 2020, in order to have at-risk populations, including seniors and those with underlying conditions, avoid required visits to DMV field offices.
    • This 60-day extension will not affect driver discounts, rates, or low-cost auto policy.
    • Driver's license and vehicle registration expirations will be reevaluated at the end of the 60-day period
    Other insurance questions:
    • Business Interruption Insurance?
      • Normally, this insurance covers loss of business due to physical loss or direct damage to property given the business is covered for that specific cause of loss or peril.
      • Commissioner Lara is working with Governor Newsom's Administration, federal authorities, and state insurance commissioners through the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) on solutions to help businesses who are losing income due to government directives and business closures as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
    • Travel Insurance versus "Cancel for Any Reason" Coverage
      • Travel Insurance: Covers events such as death, illness, or injury for you or a traveling companion. However, these policies frequently exclude epidemics and pandemics.
      • "Cancel for Any Reason" coverage may be available on new policies to cover COVID-19. Normally, the benefit must be purchased at the time of booking the trip and other restrictions may apply.
    Consumers and businesses hotline to help with urgent insurance issues/questions:
    • Hotline number 1-800-927-4357 between 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.
    California Department of Insurance created a website and it is updated constantly with this, and other useful information.

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    Wireless Phone Providers
    California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) AT&T Sprint
    • Providing Unlimited data for 60 days to customers with metered data plans (effective 3/18).
    • Giving 20 GB of free mobile hotspot to customers with hotspot-capable devices (effective 3/18).
    • Waiving per-minute toll charges for international long-distance calls from the U.S. to CDC- defined Level 3 countries (effective 3/17).
    • Visit the Sprint "Coronavirus (COVID-19) News for Sprint Customers" webpage
    T-Mobile
    • All plans now have unlimited data for 60 days to stay connected with friends.
    • Continuing to work with customers on a case-by-case basis to manage account issues. They do not have an offer available for 60 days of free service and encourage consumers to be cautious of social media posts that may include fraudulent numbers.
    • Visit the T-Mobile "Update on COVID-19 Response" webpage
    Verizon For more information regarding utilities, please visit my webpage dedicated to COVID-19 updates.

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    Foreclosure Suspension
    U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) For additional information on this foreclosure suspension, visit the "Federal Housing Administration (FHA) Frequently Asked Questions" webpage.

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    Utilities
    SoCal Edison SoCal Gas
    Suspension of service disconnections to customers having a hard time paying their bill.
    • Visit the SoCalGas "Coronavirus (COVID-19) Our Support & Response" webpage.
    • Customers can call 1-800-427-2200 for assistance if experiencing hardships of any kind, including COVID-19.
    • Customers who have become recently unemployed or who are currently facing financial hardship due to the coronavirus pandemic or for other reasons are encouraged to visit socalgas.com/care, complete the quick online application and find out instantly if they qualify for 20% off monthly bills. The CARE online application is available in English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese.

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     We hope this information is helpful to you, your family and neighbors. As a reminder, please continue to socially distance yourself from others — efforts we make today, will have a major impact on the lives we live tomorrow.

    For any questions regarding the resources and information listed above, please reach out to our office by phone at (562)861-5803 or by e-mail at assemblymember.garcia@assembly.ca.gov
    Sincerely,
    Signature
    Cristina Garcia
    Assemblymember, 58th District

    P.S. Following me on social media is a good way receive pertinent updates on COVID-19. Use the icons below to like my Facebook page and follow me on Twitter and Instagram.