Monday, 27 February 2017

6 Reasons to Include Instagram in Your Marketing Strategy

Instagram is a visual content sharing platform that was founded in 2010. Over the past six years, it has accumulated over half a billion active users. Since Instagram has a such a large follower base, it’s a great branding tool.
Here are some of the biggest reasons countless brands are using Instagram as part of their digital marketing strategy.

1. Reach a Growing Market

Instagram has steadily gained new users every year since it was founded. There are over 60 million users in the United States alone, which is about 20% of the U.S. population. You can use Instagram to reach all of these users.
If you are still skeptical, you may want to read this post from Social Media Week. It is full of detailed case studies on Instagram marketing. Here are some results from companies that used Instagram to position their brands:
  • Bloom and Wild ran a series of Instagram ads, which helped boost their bouquet orders by 62%.
  • Mercedes Benz ran some Instagram ads, which increased website visits by 54%.
  • Philadelphia (the cheese company, not the city) used images of their products to raise sales by 41%.
If Instagram can help some of the world’s largest brands increase sales by 40% or more, then it can do wonders for your business as well.

2. Better Position Products With a Visual Theme

Virtually any product can benefit from Instagram marketing. However, Instagram is particularly effective for promoting products with a strong visual theme. Brands in the following industries may notice a significant benefit from Instagram:
  • Photography services
  • Jewelry manufacturers
  • Local restaurants
  • Auto dealers
  • Collectible guns
In many industries, customers rely on strong visual cues to make purchases. Since Instagram is such a popular site for sharing visual content, it is an ideal platform for these brands to expand their reach.

3. Growing Popularity for B2B Marketing

Most brands view Instagram as a platform for marketing to consumers. However, it’s also a great platform for B2B marketing. According to a recent infographic from Buzzoid, 90% of Interbrand 100 companies have a presence on Instagram. Almost all of these brands use the platform at least once a week. Scroll to the bottom of this post for an infographic on Why Your Business Needs to Be Active on Instagram.
Of course, most of these brands use Instagram to broaden their own base. However, it can actually be a great tool for other businesses to reach them as well.
There are a number of ways to use Instagram for B2B marketing. Beverley Reinemann recently posted a detailed overview about B2B marketing on Instagram, which encapsulated a strategy that Microsoft used.
“Instead of (or, you know, as well as) giving other people in your industry a behind-the-scenes look at your company, how about using your Instagram updates to inspire your followers? Microsoft did this with their #DoMore campaign when they hired a photographer to travel the world and take photos of entrepreneurs using Microsoft products… Highlighting other businesses and entrepreneurs also makes you look good; it gives the impression that you’re creating a movement around your brand as opposed to being in a constant ‘selling’ mindset.”

4. You Can Use it for Free

Many brands have invested in paid advertising on Instagram. It can definitely pay off, as the case studies from Mercedes and Bloom and Wild show. However, many brands have found that capitalizing off of free, organic traffic can be just as beneficial.
If you invest in using Instagram regularly, you can build a stronger brand presence and earn plenty of new leads without spending a dime.

5. Paid Ads are Cheap

When most people advertise online, they usually start with Facebook or Google. While these platforms are great for reaching targeted leads, they are also very expensive.
If you want to launch an online marketing campaign with a more limited budget, you should take a look at Instagram instead. You can purchase traffic for slightly less than you could with other digital marketing platforms.

Saturday, 25 February 2017

All the Best Movies Coming to and Leaving Netflix in 2017

pring is in the air and daylight saving time is about to start, which means those carefree lazy nights of binge watching Netflix will now come with a side of guilt as you look off into the late evening sunset. Good thing there’s some good stuff arriving this month in the U.S. to keep you occupied.

The Highlights

As has been the case for several months now, the big push here is once again Netflix originals. That kicks off with the first season of Marvel’s Iron Fist, a show about a superhero doing superhero things and probably kicking people. There’s also 13 Reasons Why, a teen suicide drama directed by Tom McCarthy based on the popular young adult novel of the same name. Other new series include One More TimeBeau Sejour, and Samurai Gourmet. As for returning shows, Love comes back for its second season of bored-skinny-white-30-somethings-in-Los-Angeles-doing-things, and Grace and Frankie lines up for its third season. Netflix is also dropping a few new feature length films, including the Hell Week coming of age drama Burning Sands, the comedy-caper Deidra & Laney Rob a Train, the South Korean nuclear disaster film, Pandora, the Madalyn Murray O’Hair biopic Most Hated Woman in Americaand finally, the much talked about The Discovery.
Netflix is also debuting Five Came Back, a documentary based on the book of the same title that details the effects of World War II on Hollywood and its directors. In conjunction with that, Netflix is offering up a ton of classic World War II documentaries, including How to Operate Behind Enemy LinesLet There Be Light, Prelude of War, and a bunch more.
As for non-Netflix titles, Disney’s The BFG (RT: 75%and Pete’s Dragon (RT: 86%are easily the biggest highlights. Life Aquatic (RT: 56%), Archerseason seven, and the ‘90s teen goth totally not lame at all classic, The Craft (RT: 50%all also arrive this month.
You won’t have much to worry about as far as movies leaving, unless you haven’t seen Jaws (RT: 97%yet, in which case you should really take care of that. The 2014 Emile Edwin Smith Oscar vehicle and dramatic tour de force Mega Shark vs Mecha Shark is also leaving.

Leaving Netflix This Month

March 1
  • Jaws
  • Justice League: War
  • Jaws 2
  • Jaws 3
  • Jaws: The Revenge
  • Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox
  • Keeping Up Appearances
  • Monarch of the Glen: Seasons 1 - 7
  • National Lampoon’s Animal House
  • Robin Hood: Seasons 1 - 3
  • Survivors: Series 1 - 2
  • Leaving 3/2/17
  • Black or White
  • Sweetwater
March 3
  • Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey
  • Misfire
  • Web Junkie
March 4
  • Entertainment
  • I Dream of Wires
  • Otto the Rhino
  • Seashore
  • The Discoverers
  • The Nanny Diaries
March 5
  • Food Chains
  • Jail Caesar
  • The Days to Come
  • Two Hundred Thousand Dirty
March 6
  • Pit Stop
  • Rigor Mortis
March 7
  • Hansel vs. Gretel
March 8
  • Love At First Fight
  • The Starving Games
March 15
  • Boy
  • B for Boy
  • My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend
  • Sushi: The Global Catch
March 16
  • American Dreamz
March 23
  • Love Me
  • The Invincible Iron Man
March 25
  • All Stars
  • Pup
  • The Perfect Wedding
March 27
  • Dragonwolf
March 28
  • Erasing Hate
  • The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness
March 29
  • 6 Guns
  • Detropia
  • I Melt With You
  • Mega Shark vs. Mecha Shark
  • The Life and Crimes of Doris Payne

Arriving on Netflix this Month

March 1
  • Angry Birds: Season 2 (2013)
  • Blazing Saddles (1974)
  • Chicago (2002)
  • Deep Run (2015)
  • Dirt Every Day: Season 1 (2013)
  • Epic Drives: Season 2 (2015)
  • Friday After Next (2002)
  • Head 2 Head: Season 2 (2013)
  • Hot Rod Unlimited: Season 1 (2013)
  • Ignition: Season 1 (2013)
  • Impossible Dreamers (2017)
  • Jurassic Park (1993)
  • Jurassic Park III (2001)
  • Kate and Mim-Mim: Season 2 (2015)
  • Know Your Enemy – Japan (1945)
  • Kung Fu Panda (2008)
  • Let There Be Light (1946)
  • Memento (2000)
  • Midnight in Paris (2011)
  • Nacho Libre (2006)
  • Nazi Concentration Camps (1945)
  • Roadkill: Season 2 (2013)
  • Rolling Stones: Crossfire Hurricane (2012)
  • San Pietro (1945)
  • Singing with angels (2016)
  • Sustainable (2016)
  • Slums of Beverly Hills (1998)
  • The Craft (1996)
  • This Is Spinal Tap (1984)
  • Tenacious D in: The Pick of Destiny (2006)
  • The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997)
  • The Memphis Belle: A Story of a Flying Fortress (1944)
  • The Negro Soldier (1944)
  • Thunderbolt (1947)
  • Tunisian Victory (1944)
March 3
  • Greenleaf: Season 1 (2016)
March 4
  • Safe Haven (2013)
March 5
  • Señora Acero: Season 3 (2016)
March 7
  • Amy Schumer: The Leather Special—NETFLIX ORIGINAL
March 8
  • Hands of Stone (2016)
  • The Waterboy (1998)
March 9
  • Thithi (2015)
March 10
  • Buddy Thunderstruck: Season 1—NETFLIX ORIGINAL
  • Love: Season 2—NETFLIX ORIGINAL
  • One More Time: Season 1—NETFLIX ORIGINAL
  • The Boss’ Daughter (2016)
March 13
  • Must Love Dogs (2005)
  • Million Dollar Baby (2004)
March 14
  • Disney’s Pete’s Dragon (2016)
  • Jim Norton: Mouthful of Shame—NETFLIX ORIGINAL
March 15
  • Disney’s The BFG (2016)
  • Notes on Blindness (2016)
March 16
  • Beau Sejour: Season 1 –NETFLIX ORIGINAL
  • Coraline (2009)
March 17
  • Deidra & Laney Rob a Train—NETFLIX ORIGINAL FILM
  • Julie’s Greenroom: Season 1—NETFLIX ORIGINAL
  • Marvel’s Iron Fist: Season 1—NETFLIX ORIGINAL
  • Naledi: A Baby Elephant’s Tale (2016)
  • Samurai Gourmet: Season 1—NETFLIX ORIGINAL
March 18
  • Come and Find Me (2016)
  • The Vampire Diaries: Season 8 (2016)
March 20
  • El Reemplazante: Season 1-2 (2012)
March 21
  • Ali & Nino (2016)
  • Another Forever (2016)
  • Evolution (2015)
  • Fire at the Sea (Fuocoammare) (2016)
March 23
  • How to Get Away with Murder: Season 3 (2016)
  • Welcome to New York (2015)
March 24
  • Bottersnikes & Gumbles: Season 2—NETFLIX ORIGINAL
  • Déjà Vu (2006)
  • Felipe Neto: My Life Makes No Sense—NETFLIX ORIGINAL
  • Grace and Frankie: Season 3—NETFLIX ORIGINAL
  • Ingobernable: Season 1—NETFLIX ORIGINAL
  • Spider (2007)
  • The Square (2008)
  • The Most Hated Woman in America—NETFLIX ORIGINAL FILM
  • Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988)
March 25
  • The Student Body (2017)
  • USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage (2016)
March 26
  • The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004)
March 27
  • Better Call Saul: Season 2
March 28 
  • Archer: Season 7 (2016)
  • Jo Koy: Live from Seattle—NETFLIX ORIGINAL
March 30
  • Life in Pieces: Season 1 (2015)
March 31
  • 13 Reasons Why: Season 1—NETFLIX ORIGINAL
  • Bordertown: Season 1—NETFLIX ORIGINAL
  • Cooper Barrett’s Guide to Surviving Life: Season 1 (2016)
  • Dinotrux: Season 4—NETFLIX ORIGINAL
  • FirstBorn (2016)
  • GLOW: The Story of the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling (2012)
  • Rosewood: Season 1
  • The Carmichael Show: Season 1-2
  • Trailer Park Boys: Season 11—NETFLIX ORIGINAL

Thursday, 23 February 2017

How Car Accident Lawyers can Help you Overcome your Losses

According to some sources, there are around 28.7 million automobiles registered in California out of which nearly 7,43,282 are publicly owned and rest are owned privately. The demand for vehicles is also increasing exponentially with the passage of time.
And when we consider such a large vehicles count, the chances of an accident is obvious. Accidents can happen to anyone; regardless of being an expert driver. An accident not only affects you externally, but it also affects you mentally giving minor to severe injuries. Your car repairing and injury treatment may encompass large expenses. Also, it makes you unable to attend the office, continue your hobbies and many other such daily activities.
For maximum recovery, you need a car accident lawyer. These lawyers will help you in getting the compensation for all the damages you have encountered during the accident.
Below are the points how the lawyers will help you heal your losses.

1. Helping You Recover Your Financial Loss

A car accident brings with it huge expenses required for the treatment of the driver, passengers, and for repairing the car. It may make you unable to attend your office due to your injuries. So, in such cases, your family faces a huge financial loss. A car accident lawyer helps you recover the loss through an insurance claim or filing a personal injury lawsuit. The lawyer helps you compensate medical costs, pain and suffering, lost wages and your vehicle damages.

2. Helps You Get Maximum Compensation

The expenses you incur on your medical treatment and car maintenance can’t be claimed 100%. But it’s good if you can receive the maximum possible amount as compensation.
These lawyers are highly proficient and knowledgeable and can interact with the insurance company to get the maximum compensation for your losses. They do their best to deliver the settlement between you and the insurance firm.

3. Represents On Your Behalf

In the case of a severe injury, the victim is unable to get in touch with the insurance authority and file any claim. It also becomes difficult to attend the trials and settlement callings. So, the car accident attorney represents you during the hearings.
But before getting in touch with an injury attorney, you should do some homework on your end.
  • If the victim is in the conscious state and is capable of moving, he or he should save the details of the other car driver. It will help you to get the settlement done at the base level. Note down all the information of the second party.
  • If you saw any witness during the accident, it’s good to note the contact details of the witness. It will help you authenticate your statements and get maximum compensation from the insurance company.
  •  If you are capable of coming out of the car, it’s better to capture the accident scene in photos. It will always help the injury attorney to build a clear picture of the accident scene.

Don’t Make These Mistakes

There are some mistakes that people do to get compensation for the accident.
  • Lying: To get compensation, the drive tries to lie, but its results are disastrous.
  • Incorrect Form Filling: Because of less knowledge or lack of understanding, the victim fills the insurance claim form incorrectly that may lead to its rejection.
  • Applying Too Late: Many of the car accident victims apply for the compensation very late, which rejects their plea at the initial level.
If anyone in your family has met with an accident and you need to recover that loss, you should find the best car accident attorneys in your area. The lawyers will always assist you in getting the maximum compensation for your damages from the insurance firm and thus help you heal your losses.
We know that some non-living losses can be recovered, but the loss of any human life can never be recovered at any cost. So, it’s better to take care of your life and drive as safely as possible.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

3 Best Instagram Tools that You Should Start Using Immediately

Marketing is very important for any product or business. It is important to reach out to the customer and the only way to engage people is by getting them to spend time in your business or product. So social platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are important for marketers.
A study found that Instagram users are more likely to comment, like or share brand’s post which is 58 times and 120 times more than Facebook and Twitter respectively. This indicates that users are shifting to Instagram from Twitter and Facebook.
Such data shows that Instagram is the best platform for marketing of brands and in reaching the audiences. So, if you are not marketing on Instagram, you might be missing out on new customers. The reason behind such high engagement of users is that people crave to visually share the reactions, stories and experiences and Instagram provide the suitable platform for them. Visual storytelling is not that easy as one needs to come up with a great representation of the product.
There are some third party Instagram tools which help small and medium size business to market the brand and business. Here are some:


Instaplus is one of the most efficient automation services of Instagram available online. It lets you automatically like, comment, unfollow and follow on Instagram. It has cloud-based promotion tools which let you increase your Instagram followers. It works entirely in the cloud so no downloads are required. It has deep custom filters which allow to target users and helps in avoiding inactive users, shop accounts and bots with just a few clicks. There are number of features such as:
  • No downloads
    Since software works in the cloud environment no download is required.
  • Grow your followers. Fast!The feature of automatic follow, comment, like and unfollow users in the account helps a lot. Though one can also follow and like at same time.
  • Target your audience
    It helps to target audience by means of hashtag, geolocation, custom user list, or pick out the followers who are following specific account.
  • Filter your audience
    It lets you to filters the target based on skip bots or specific keywords, inactive users and shop accounts. The other ways to filter is by posts, number of followers, keywords etc!
  • Leave custom comments
    One can define their own list of custom comments from which InstaPlus will pull message from.
  • Online Instagram parserIt helps to track stats of your competitors when required.
  • Simple InterfaceIt has very simple and easy to navigate interface thus it starts promoting literally in minutes.
In addition to above mentioned features it also helps to schedule tasks to run. It is simple fast and easy interface. And it lets you operate 5 accounts at the price of one and have 24*7 support with option for live chat in case of any issue.


Buffer is a new way to sharing and interacting on Social Media. Buffer lets you automate timing of social media posts through scheduling features. It is a sophisticated interface which has options for several social networks such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook. One can add updates to their Buffer queue and it will be posted automatically at the scheduled time. To use it, one can sign in using any social platform account, or can create dedicated Buffer account if you wish. It is like magic box one can use at anytime to fill their accounts with great LinkedIn updates, Facebook stories or Tweets.
One just has to drop them in and need not to worry about when it gets posted, that will be taken care by Buffer. So in spite of you picking date and time for each post, it will be pre-set already. No doubt, one can still adjust them. One can add to their queue from anywhere they are reading. Thus Buffer will make sure to put it in front of your followers and friends so they can see it. Below are some features of Buffer:
  • 10 Social Profiles
    One can easily share content to all their Instagram photos, Facebook pages, Twitter profiles, Linkedin accounts and Facebook profiles.
  • 100 Posts
    It lets you to add as many as up to 100 tweets and posts to respective buffers.
  • 1 Member Team
    This is perfect for small business where your colleague can help to manage your Buffer profiles.
There are number of other features such as Business and agency plans, high security with two step login, Custom Scheduling, multiple social networks etc. It also offers extensions for browser such as Safari, Chrome and Firefox which lets us to share content from any Web page. It adds small icon to browser which allows one to share a link through Buffer. It also suggests text which can go along with link and gives option of posting link then or add it to your Buffer. Only drawback it has is that it can’t tell when tweets or post are time sensitive.

3. Superimpose

Superimpose is a photo editing tool which brings fresh ideas on the table. Using this tool, one can basically get to create their own scene from scratch to finish with all kinds of wacky effects. One can create a complete work of art or simply cut copy and paste any type of wacky thing in your photo.
It is very simple to use and need to start by selecting the background image as scenery for a new image. Then choose foreground image and then begin to mask out areas that are not required in final product. There are number of masks which can be used to get the right appearance and effect. The other tools can be used to modify the image. The image can be cropped; cut, rotate, move and resize. The smooth tool lets you to blend images seamlessly and soften edges. One can adjust the contrast, exposure and color as well as. It comes with classy user Interface design and lot of photo editing possibilities. Everything is easy, but if you get stuck you can refer the instructions on Help page. Thus it helps to engage people on the platform and attract the masses.
Similarly, there are a number of tools available on internet which can be used to target the audience and increase the popularity of your business.

Sunday, 19 February 2017

12 Secrets Your Health Insurance Company Is Keeping from You

1. Business first, people second

When it comes to dealing with your medical insurance company, forget the touchy-feely commercials and go with your head. “Don’t buy the advertising hype. Health insurance execs don’t run around hugging babies, comforting parents, and playing with puppies,” says Sue O’Leary, the CEO and Founder of Exhale Healthcare Advocates, an advocacy group for healthcare consumers. “The primary function of multi-billion dollar insurance companies is to make more billions for themselves and their investors.” This means that when you deal with your insurer, you need to remain objective and check your emotions.

2. We have a financial interest in your good health

Staying healthy is good for you, obviously, but it’s also good for your health insurer. Insurance companies have a vested interest in your continued health, so that you’ll require fewer costly services. “They push wellness programs so that you stay out of hospitals, thus costing them less money to insure. They want you to quit smoking so that you don’t get cancer because it’s very expensive to treat, not so that you live longer,” Ms. O’Leary explains. Fortunately you can both win in this scenario, so make sure you’re taking full advantage of all the new preventative and wellness programs available to you. Check out these low-cost or free preventative programs available to everyone

3. Full coverage doesn’t mean you’re fully covered

When you talk about your insurance “coverage,” think less “blanket” and more “Swiss cheese,” Ms. O’Leary says, adding that every single plan they’ve analyzed, no matter how expensive, has a list of exclusions, co-pays, and co-insurance that aren’t paid for by the plan. “When you see the number for your ‘annual out of pocket limit,’ it’s based on what the policy says it is obligated to cover, not how much you might actually potentially have to pay for your entire care,” she explains. “There simply is no such this as 100 percent coverage.” (Got Medicare? Here’s everything you need to know about your coverage.)

4. We’ll only tell you what we cover, not what we don’t

Insurers have a set list of pre-approved services for patients and, Ms. O’Leary says, it’s a lot shorter than you think. Most people understand that over-the-counter drugs, out-of-network treatments, and elective surgeries aren’t covered, but many people don’t realize that there are plenty of drug treatments, procedures, hospital stays, and therapies that even though your doctor prescribes them are still not included in your plan—meaning those costs come out of your pocket as well, she explains. And often you don’t know they’re not covered until the bill comes back in full, to you.

5. It’s on you to know your real healthcare “number”

You may think that knowing your deductible and monthly fee is all you need to plan your healthcare expenses, but this will leave you way over budget, Ms. O’Leary says. Instead, you must consider the cost of prescription medications you take, any non-emergency tests or procedures you have scheduled for the upcoming year, and any chronic conditions that affect you—in addition to the annual premiums and the deductible. And that’s not even accounting for emergency situations which can be as expensive as they are terrifying. Want to save even more? Check out our 5 top tips for saving on insurance.

6. Just because a hospital or office is “in-network” doesn’t mean all its doctors are

Think you’re covered because you took the time to make sure your hospital or doctor’s office was approved as being in your network? It’s not that simple. Individual providers, labs, tests, specialists, and others that work within the facility may still be out of network. “We recently had a patient who went in for a non-emergency procedure to an in-network hospital. A few weeks later, he received a $6,000+ medical bill from the anesthesiologist who was, unbeknownst to the patient, out of his insurer’s provider network. The insurance company refused to pay it even though the patient thought he was safe using an in-network provider,” Ms. O’Leary says. “The kicker? The insurer rejected his appeal claiming he should have known better.” It’s tedious but important to ask every single person you work with—from the staff to the labs to the imaging centers—if they are also covered by your insurance. (Need more proof? Check out this outrage that ended up in a nearly $1 million medical bill!)

7. We will deny an expensive claim that we should cover, just to see if you notice the mistake

Insurers like you best when you don’t cost them much, and so some companies have an unofficial (or even semi-official) policy to automatically reject high-expense claims that ought to be covered. Many patients won’t know they can contest it or won’t understand the charges, and so will assume the bill is factually correct, paying thousands that they don’t legally owe, Ms. O’Leary explains. “You might ask, ‘How do they get away with it?’ First, the burden of proof is on the patient who rarely wants to take on the insurer. Second, the insurer typically says, ‘Oops! Computer error!’ if they’re caught,” she explains. “It has to be widespread fraud before it becomes important enough to pursue by the government.” This means that it’s your job to be your own best advocate. Always call about denied claims and have them explained to you step by step. (Here are 10 more wildly overinflated hospital costs.)

8. Just because your doctor writes you a prescription doesn’t mean you can fill it

Expensive medications for treatment of certain cancers, diabetes, liver disease, and a host of other maladies can cost patients tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars if the insurer does not cover the drugs. But even if the drugs are covered, the insurer might try to stall in urgent cases to see if the patient has enough money to pay for the drugs rather than wait on the insurer’s approval, she says. Another sneaky stalling tactic? Requiring you get “pre-certification” or do certain other (less expensive) therapies first.

9. We are not your cheapest option for prescription meds

“Many plans don’t give patients any drug benefits, even on generics, until you reach your deductible, which is often in the thousands of dollars,” Ms. O’Leary says. Instead of just accepting your insurance company’s lousy offer, she recommends using websites such as and goodrx.com to shop around for the best price for your medication in your area.

10. Your medical bill almost definitely has a mistake

Up to 80 percent of all medical bills contain errors, according to a recent study done by Medical Billing Advocates of America. There are two main types to look for: Medical bill coding mistakes are when the healthcare provider puts in the wrong code, causing the insurer not to pay the claim, or the insurer reacts incorrectly to a correct code. Medical billing errors are when the biller sends duplicate bills, charges multiple times for the same item, inputs the wrong cost for the item, doesn’t account for the payment by the insurer, or other mistakes. The only way to make sure yours are correct? Go through every bill (no throwing out envelopes unopened!), read every line, and keep your own records. Call immediately when you spot a mistake. And don’t forget to use these 11 insider tips for lowering your medical bill.

11. Balance billing is our best friend—and your worst enemy

You’ve likely heard of $100 Band-aids and $500 cotton balls showing up on medical bills. This happens thanks to a sneaky practice called “balance billing.” Here’s how it works: Hospitals have an arbitrary cost setting mechanism called a “charge master,” Ms. O’Leary explains. It sets the prices for the items and services provided by the hospital, is often wildly inflated from item to item, and varies by hospital. Then your hospital charges your insurance company that price, let’s say $500 for an aspirin. The insurer only pays back $20 for that aspirin. Instead of simply accepting the $20, the hospital holds you responsible for the difference of the inflated cost of $280. “Balance billing is at least unethical and often illegal,” she says. “Savvy patients demand detailed, itemized bills from their providers and check them carefully for errors.” For more info: Why a hospital bill costs what it costs.

12. You shouldn’t pay your bill promptly

That “due by” date? Nonsense, according to Ms. O’Leary. “Healthcare providers now send bills well before your insurance company has decided what part of the claim they will pay. The average person would think you owe that bill and should pay it,” she says. “Don’t! First, the cost is probably wildly inflated. Second, you need to know what the insurer is going to pay first before you do anything.” Her advice? Don’t pay a dime until you get an EOB (Explanation of Benefits) from your insurer that explains your claim and how much they are paying.