Category Archives: Health Insurance

A Guide to Coinsurance and Copays

You often pay your copay when you check in for a visit.

Having health insurance makes it possible to receive medical care while only paying a fraction of that care’s true cost. Insurance doesn’t cover everything, however. Some of the cost of your care is still up to you to pay, and that cost comes in two primary forms: copays and coinsurance.

What Is a Copay?

A copay is a flat amount of money that you’re responsible for paying for a health care service. Copays typically apply for things like a doctor’s appointment, prescription drug or medical test. The amount of your copay is dependent on your specific health insurance plan.

You can typically expect to pay your copay when you check in for your service, be it an annual physical, dental cleaning or blood test. Copays are typically lower amounts ranging from $10 for something like a generic drug prescription to around $65 for a visit to a medical specialist.

Depending on your insurance plan, copays may not take effect until after you reach your deductible. Your deductible is the amount of money you must pay out-of-pocket before your insurance provider starts to pitch in. Deductibles reset at the beginning of every year.

When you are reviewing your plan information and you see the phrase “after deductible” or “deductible applies” in reference to your copays, that’s an indication that the copay is only in place once you meet your deductible. On the other hand, if you see “deductible waived,” that’s a sign that your copay is in place from the beginning. It may go without saying, but the latter situation is vastly preferable to you.

What Is Coinsurance?

Coinsurance is another method of splitting the cost of medical coverage with your insurance plan. A coinsurance is a percentage of the cost of services. You pay the percentage, and your insurance company foots the rest of the bill. So, if you have a $8,000 medical bill and a 20% coinsurance, you would be on the hook for $1,600.

Coinsurance typically only comes into play after you hit your deductible. Further, you may have differing coinsurance percentages for the same services depending on your provider network. If you have a preferred provider organization (PPO) plan, your coinsurance could be a higher percentage for providers outside your network than it is for providers in your network.

Similarly, your coinsurance may not apply to providers outside your network if you have a health maintenance organization (HMO) plan or an exclusive provider organization (EPO) plan. That’s because these plans typically don’t provide any out-of-network coverage.

Copay vs. Coinsurance

You likely pay a copay when you visit the doctor.

Copay and coinsurance are very similar terms. They both have to do with portions of the cost of your health care that’s under your responsibility. Because of that, and their similar names, it’s easy to confuse the two. There are a couple of important distinctions to keep in mind, however.

The most notable difference between copays and coinsurance is that copays are always a flat amount and coinsurance is always a percentage of the cost of the service. Another difference is that some copays can be in place before you hit your deductible, depending on the specifics of your plan. With coinsurance, you have to hit your deductible first.

Bottom Line

copays are fixed amounts, while coinsurance is a percentage.

If you’re choosing between health insurance plans, make sure to examine the provided copays and coinsurance for each option. While they may not be the most important factor to consider, a high copay can be quite a pain, especially over the course of years of appointments and procedures.

Tips for Staying on Top of Medical Expenses

  • One of the best ways to stay ahead of surprise medical expenses is to have an emergency fund in place for just such a situation. If you can manage it, have three to six months worth of expenses stashed away in a high-yield savings account. That way, if you’re dealing with medical bills or have to step away from work, you’ll have a bit of a cushion.
  • If you’re not sure how an unexpected medical expenses would fit into your finances, consider working with a financial advisor to develop a financial plan. Finding the right financial advisor that fits your needs doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with financial advisors in your area in 5 minutes. If you’re ready to be matched with local advisors that will help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.

Photo Credit: ©iStock.com/DuxX, Â©iStock.com/SARINYAPINNGAM, Â©iStock.com/Aja Koska

The post A Guide to Coinsurance and Copays appeared first on SmartAsset Blog.

Source: smartasset.com

Health Insurance Myths Debunked

A health insurance policy is essential for anyone seeking to safeguard their future and avoid the catastrophic consequences of high medical bills. Whether you’re buying coverage for yourself or a health plan for your family, it’s important to get complete coverage. But despite this fact, millions of Americans remain uninsured, often because they believe one of the following health insurance myths.

Myth 1: I’m Young and Healthy; I Don’t Need Health Insurance

You’re never too young to start shopping for health insurance plans because you don’t know what’s around the corner. Medical expenses can be astronomical at any age and anyone can have an accident, fall ill or be diagnosed with a serious disease. 

It’s not pleasant to think about and many people prefer to bury their heads in the sand and live as if they are invincible, but they’re not. No one is.

Health care is very expensive in the United States, there’s no escaping that fact. This is one of the few developed nations in the world where being the victim of an accident or attack could lead to insurmountable medical expenses and essentially ruin your life. You can’t rely on luck and you can’t assume you’ll be safe just because you’re young, fit, and healthy.

In fact, buying at this young age has many benefits, including the fact that you’ll likely clear all exclusion periods by the time you actually need to start claiming.

Myth 2: The Benefits are Lost if I Don’t Renew by the Due Date

You should always try to pay your monthly premium on time, thus avoiding any issues and ensuring you are covered at all times. However, your health insurance coverage does not end the minute you miss a payment.

Insurance companies have a grace period, during which time your policy will remain active. This period allows you to gather the funds needed and to pay your monthly premium, thus keeping your policy active. 

Typically, this grace period lasts for between 7 and 15 days, but it differs from provider to provider. Check your policy for more details but try to avoid playing fast and loose with your payments as they could be the only thing protecting you.

Myth 3: It’s All About the Deductible

The deductible is the amount of money you pay before the health insurance policy takes over and to many consumers, it is the single most important part of any health insurance policy. However, while it is important to consider the deductible, you should not choose your policies based solely on which one has the lowest deductible.

Look for the sort of cover that they provide and whether this will suit your needs or not, and then focus on the deductible. 

It’s also important to find the right balance between a deductible that is cheap enough for you to afford when the time comes, but is not so cheap that it sends the premiums through the roof. To do this, avoid focusing on how much your first monthly payment will cost and ask yourself what you would do if you had to pay for a medical expense today.

Would you have an issue paying the deductible? Would it require you to borrow money from friends or family? If so, it’s too high and it’s time to go back to the drawing board.

Myth 4: I Have Insurance from My Employer so I Don’t Need any Additional Cover

If your employer offers any kind of group health insurance cover, take it, but don’t assume that it will cover you for everything you need. Read the small print, look for gaps, and seek to fill those gaps with your own cover.

With your own policy, you’ll also be protected if you lose your life. If anything happens in the time it takes you to find a new job, you could be left to foot the bill, making this an even scarier and more stressful time. But if you’re covered, you can take your time as you search for a suitable role.

Myth 5: It’s Not a Pre-Existing Condition if I Didn’t Know About it

If you have any pre-existing medical conditions you will be subject to an exclusion period, one that may last for up to 48 months. During this time, your insurance company will not pay out for any issues related to this condition and contrary to popular belief, not knowing about the condition is not enough to avoid this exclusion period.

If, somehow, it is proven that you had a medical condition that was simply not discovered at the time you applied, it will still be subject to an exclusion period. The good news, however, is that you can no longer be refused because of pre-existing medical conditions, which means that everyone can benefit from health insurance.

Myth 6: I Don’t Need Health Insurance If I Have a Life Insurance Plan

A life insurance policy can cover you for critical illness, which could be used to cover health care costs. You can also purchase accident and dismemberment insurance to cover you in the event you lose a limb. However, life insurance is designed to pay out a death benefit when you die. It goes to your loved ones, not you, and is therefore not a viable replacement for health insurance.

For complete cover, you should look into getting both life insurance and health insurance. You can find low-cost options for both.

Summary: Common Myths Debunked

If you don’t have any health insurance coverage, it’s time to change that and start looking for coverage today. Take a look at our guide to choosing a health plan to get started. We also have guides on everything from life insurance (term life insurance, whole life insurance, and other life insurance coverage) car insurance and pretty much all other insurance products.

By purchasing all of these together you could even save some money while getting essential coverage! Just remember to do your research, plan ahead, and never settle for less than you need as you may live to regret it in the future.

Health Insurance Myths Debunked is a post from Pocket Your Dollars.

Source: pocketyourdollars.com

How to Clean Grout: 5 Steps to Sparkling Tile

Grout is a construction material that is used to fill the space between tiles, and with normal wear and tear it tends to get pretty dirty. Since it’s typically a lighter color and has a porous competition, grout is particularly prone to showing dirt, mold and stains. The good news is that it’s not difficult to clean grout, and in several steps, you can have sparkling tiles once again. Below you’ll find step by step instructions for how to clean grout and learn how to keep it clean long-term.

How to clean grout

Cleaning grout just requires a good grout cleaner, a scrub brush and a little elbow grease. So throw on a pair of rubber gloves — especially if you’re handling chemicals — and let’s get started.

Step 1: Remove surface dirt

scrubbing grout with brush

Scrub the grout using warm water and stiff-bristled brush to remove as much surface dirt as possible. If you don’t want to invest in a special grout brush, you can always use a scrub brush or even an old toothbrush.

Step 2: Mix a cleaning solution

spoon full of baking soda

Purchase a commercial grout cleaner or make a homemade cleaner.

One proven DIY cleaner is made from two parts baking soda and one part hydrogen peroxide. Try adding a teaspoon of dish soap to this mixture to help cut through extra greasy grime.

You’ll want to avoid acidic cleaners as they can dissolve or pit the grout as well as oil-based cleaners, which can leave a film that will attract dirt.

Step 3: Apply the cleaner and let it sit

brushing cleaner on floor with broom

Pour the commercial or your DIY solution over the grout, and depending on what cleaner you use, let it sit for about 10 minutes.

Step 4: Scrub the tile

gloved hand scrubbing grout

Use your brush to scrub the tile again. Since the grout is porous, make sure to scrub hard so that you reach the tiny spaces dirt and grime may have seeped into.

Step 5: Rinse away the cleaning solution

woman mopping floor

Wash away the cleaner with a mop or wipe clean with a damp cloth.

Best DIY grout cleaners

There are a handful of DIY grout cleaners that you can make from just a few ingredients you likely have on hand. If you don’t feel like venturing out to the store, try making these grout cleaners at home.

  • Baking Soda and Water:
    • Mix equal parts to create a paste
    • Scrub directly on grout
  • Baking Soda and Hydrogen Peroxide:
    • Mix two parts baking soda and one part hydrogen peroxide
    • Let it sit on grout for 5-10 minutes, then scrub and rinse
  • Baking Soda, Hydrogen Peroxide and Dish Soap:
    • Mix 1/2 cup baking soda, 1/4 cup hydrogen peroxide and a teaspoon of dish soap
    • Let it sit on grout for 5-10 minutes, then scrub and rinse
  • Heavy Duty Cleaner:
    • Mix 1/2 cup baking soda, 1/3 cup ammonia, 1/4 cup white vinegar and 7 cups warm water
    • Apply to grout and let sit for 5 minutes, then rinse

Additional grout cleaning tips

Everyone has their own method for cleaning, but these additional tips will help ensure that your tile stays in optimal condition.

  • Clean grout regularly — weekly or biweekly — to prevent the buildup of mildew, dirt and mold
  • For frequent cleaning, you can create a natural solution using two parts baking soda and one part water instead of hydrogen peroxide
  • You might also consider applying a grout sealer. It’s easy to apply and is water-resistant, so it will repel moisture and prevent mold and water damage.

Although cleaning can be tedious, sticking to a regular cleaning schedule will help keep your apartment beautiful and functional. Visit our blog for more cleaning and maintenance tips.

The post How to Clean Grout: 5 Steps to Sparkling Tile appeared first on Apartment Living Tips – Apartment Tips from ApartmentGuide.com.

Source: apartmentguide.com