What Are Patient Assistance Programs and How Can They Save You Money?

What Are Patient Assistance Programs and How Can They Save You Money?

(MoneyHippo.com) – Prescription drugs are expensive, especially if you have no insurance to mitigate the costs. Even if you have coverage through work or a government-subsidized insurance policy, the safety net doesn’t always prevent you from paying out-of-pocket costs. Luckily, there are patient assistance programs (PAPs) available to help.

Drug manufacturers typically sponsor these measures, giving Americans the opportunity to have access to their treatments. Nonprofits and states offer them as well. PAPs aim to minimize the cost to patients.

Because there are many different types of assistance, qualifications vary, but general requirements include proof that you are either uninsured or underinsured, currently a legal “US or Puerto Rico” resident, and fall below specific annual income parameters. If you qualify and the plan includes the medication, the program will pick up some or all of the drug costs. When signing up, read all the applicable information, including which prescriptions the plan covers and when you expect assistance.

Some programs that save patients big money include RxAssist, GoodRx, GSK for You, Pfizer PAP Connect, and PAN Foundation.

To see if you can get help to afford specialty medications, contact the drug manufacturer and ask if they have a PAP available.

Copyright 2022, MoneyHippo.com

3 Reasons Not To Name Your Estate as Your IRA Beneficiary

3 Reasons Not To Name Your Estate as Your IRA Beneficiary

(MoneyHippo.com) – One of the last things you might think about when setting up finances is preparing assets for those you leave behind. Choosing beneficiaries is an excellent first step in planning. Failing to pick a person or persons to receive your IRA may result in the estate becoming the beneficiary by default. Some individuals could even make the designation specifically on the forms, but making that choice might be a mistake.

Here are a few reasons not to list your estate as the inheritor of a traditional IRA retirement account.

  1. Taxes: Normally, a person who inherits this type of investment account can take distributions over their remaining life expectancy. When an estate receives an IRA, the government requires disbursements to happen as quickly as possible — sometimes over just five years. The shortened time frame will increase the tax burden and decrease the amount available for your family.
  2. Probate: Without picking an individual as an IRA heir and leaving it to the estate, the funds must go through probate court, delaying distribution to loved ones. That process will take time and money to accomplish. Additionally, the judge might not distribute the funds as you intended or could even order the executor to use the funds to pay outstanding creditors.
  1. Challenges: After you pass, people you had no intention of including in your final financial plan might clamor for your assets. Naming an estate as beneficiary instead of individuals leaves the inheritance more vulnerable to claims from a “disgruntled heir.”

Estate planning can be complex, so doing it correctly becomes critical. Consider talking to a professional about arranging your legacy in the best way possible.

Copyright 2022, MoneyHippo.com

What’s Zero-Based Budgeting and How Can It Work for You?

What's Zero-Based Budgeting and How Can It Work for You?

(MoneyHippo.com) – While budgeting money might sound restrictive, it could be the answer you need to straighten or keep a handle on your finances. Zero-based budgeting categorizes a person’s income into expense pockets to cover their obligations and accounts for every dollar.

Start by writing down your net income and every expense you pay. Include items that occur monthly, quarterly, yearly, and occasionally. Don’t forget savings. Write down the amounts you need to set aside each month for every obligation, organizing each dollar until you have none left — zero. You’ll allocate funds on a spreadsheet each time you get paid, accumulating money into those subaccounts and subtracting from the line items as you pay bills.

The most significant advantage of this plan is it leaves no surprises. With zero-based budgeting, you set aside cash for everything that does or could come up in your life — including emergencies. This kind of planning can keep you out of debt by eliminating the need to spend beyond your means.

Tracking at this level also gives you a detailed view of where you stand financially. You can either increase your income to plan for more expenses or reduce or eliminate some completely. It’s also easy to move money around to customize the budget in a way that works for you.

Although this process might take some time to implement and track, knowing you have every obligation covered could reduce financial stress and give you peace of mind.

Copyright 2022, MoneyHippo.com

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Programs and Requirements

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Programs and Requirements

(MoneyHippo.com) – The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) funds a free benefit for low-income families to receive assistance through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. The program gives grant money to state and territorial governments, which administer programs, cash assistance, and services to benefit eligible families. Although requirements and resources vary depending on where you live, eligibility centers around income and residency. To participate in the program, one of the following conditions must apply: you must

  • Have a child age 18 or younger
  • Be pregnant
  • Be 18 years old or younger and the head of your household

To find out what TANF help is available to you, navigate here and click on where you live. Contact information and links are available for the appropriate state agency to walk you through the application process. You can also quickly check eligibility here before getting started.

The program helps qualifying families with childcare costs, job training, and finding employment. With some exceptions, obtaining or improving gainful employment is usually a requirement to continue participating in this temporary program.

The goal is to provide struggling families the tools to meet their basic needs, reduce their dependency on assistance, and ensure they continue to thrive. TANF program administrators consider the grants a hand up rather than a handout.

Copyright 2022, MoneyHippo.com

Should You Refinance Your Student Loan?

Should You Refinance Your Student Loan?

(MoneyHippo.com) – When interest rates drop, homeowners often consider refinancing their mortgage loans to reduce their monthly payments or interest rates. Yet, you could refinance and consolidate many outstanding loans, especially higher-interest ones, including the student debt you carry, but should you? Here are some factors to think about before making the decision.

  1. Rate: Look at your current student loan rate to see if the percentage is higher or lower than the present rate. If your interest is higher, you might consider refinancing to pay less monthly and save money over the loan term.
  2. Qualification: When you took out your loan, you had to qualify, and the same holds for refinancing. If you’re in a better financial position than when you initially received the loans and currently have a good credit score, consider talking to a bank. The institution will let you know if you qualify to take the leap.
  1. Benefits: Carrying federal student loans comes with a unique set of advantages you would lose access to if you refinance the debt. Those perks might include forbearance, forgiveness, and income-based monthly payments. Before refinancing or consolidating these types of loans, understand all the implications to determine if the move is financially sound.

Refinancing could make sense for some student loan borrowers. Consider talking to a lender or your current creditor to see if it’s the right move for your situation.

Copyright 2022, MoneyHippo.com

Don’t Make THIS Critical Credit Mistake

Don't Make THIS Critical Credit Mistake

(MoneyHippo.com) – Offers from banks for credit cards with cashback incentives, rewards programs, and 0% temporary rates might overwhelm your physical and virtual mailboxes. Beware! While the perks offered might tempt you to take advantage of applying for accounts, opening multiple credit cards simultaneously can hurt you financially. Here’s why.

  1. Credit Score: Each time someone applies for a credit card, the process generates a hard inquiry on their credit report, which might cause their score to dip. Multiple applications will do even more damage. Although these hits are temporary, they could hurt your chances of acquiring larger loans from the bank.
  2. Danger Signs: As you apply for credit, the lender associated with the card looks at your bureau report, and they will see you asking for lines from multiple sources. That fact could alert them to the possibility you may soon have the ability to fall into debt, making it less likely you can pay your bills.
  1. Spending Spree: If the institutions approve your requests, you could have the means to charge items you can’t afford, plunging you into debt. Instead of tempting yourself with open lines of credit, limiting the amount you can borrow might be best.

Still, as long as you’re responsible with credit cards and pay them off each month, they aren’t necessarily bad. If you want to take advantage of lucrative offers, consider spacing out the requests over time to minimize the hits to your credit score.

Copyright 2022, MoneyHippo.com

Your Employer Doesn’t Offer a 401(k) — Now What?

Your Employer Doesn't Offer a 401(k) -- Now What?

(MoneyHippo.com) – If your employer doesn’t offer a 401(k) retirement plan, finding the best ways to save for your golden years might be challenging. Most companies don’t provide workers the option to participate in a plan, so preparing for the golden years typically falls to individuals. And no matter when you start, saving is still possible. Here are three effective ways to save for the future.

  1. Traditional IRA: As long as you earn income, you can open this type of investment account with a qualified institution like T. Rowe Price or Vanguard. You will contribute your pre-tax dollars into the IRA and choose investments you believe will give the best returns. The downside is that the government limits contributions to $6,000 or $7,000 per year, depending on the contributor’s age. While you can claim the deposits on your taxes at the year’s end, you’ll pay those taxes and any capital gains based on the growth of the assets once you start withdrawing the money.
  2. Roth IRA: This investment works like a traditional IRA, except you don’t get to write off the contribution on your return. Instead, you contribute funds you’ve already paid taxes on, and the investment inside grows tax-free. You also don’t pay Uncle Sam on the back end when you withdraw your retirement funds.
  1. Solo 401(k): If you’re self-employed, you can open this type of retirement account. Available in both traditional or Roth forms, owners of this investment can contribute as both employer and employee, resulting in higher allowed deposit amounts. Depending on your choices, taxes will work the same as the options above.

Each path may have specific advantages, but the important aspects are to have a plan, contribute what you can, and prepare for a future without work.

Copyright 2022, MoneyHippo.com

Why You Should Avoid Carrying THIS Kind of Debt

Why You Should Avoid Carrying THIS Kind of Debt

(MoneyHippo.com) – When you hear the word debt, you might envision a drain on your bank account month after month. In truth, some obligations can help grow wealth, although carrying the wrong kind of debt can hinder financial progress for the foreseeable future. Credit card balances with high interest rates can trap you in a cycle that’s hard to escape.

The problem with credit cards and any other obligation without an asset attached is that nothing on the other side of the commitment is gaining equity. For instance, a house attached to a mortgage will likely appreciate over time. So, as you pay off the liability, your home is probably growing in value, giving you equity and adding to your bottom-line wealth. That’s an example of good debt.

In contrast, credit cards don’t have an asset counterweight to justify the obligation. Also, paying the minimum balance on your charge card likely doesn’t even cover the interest, so whatever you bought costs much more than if you had saved to buy the item outright. Instead of representing an investment, the obligation strains your long-term budget.

Paying the balance monthly is the only way to use a charge card responsibly. Be sure you have the money beforehand to cover any purchases. By following that strategy, you can build your credit score, avoid the trappings of bad debt, and take advantage of any benefits the credit card company offers.

Copyright 2022, MoneyHippo.com

Uber Vs Lyft

rideshare driver
Photo by Craig Adderley from Pexels

Do you want to earn extra income on the side? Well, you can start it today by driving your car for either Uber or Lyft.

Uber was the first ride hailing app launched in 2009 and is currently the largest ride hailing app, operating in more than 63 countries.

Lyft on the other hand is much smaller, operating only in the US and Canada. However, they are constantly expanding.

Both companies function similarly and assign rides to both parties i.e. riders and drivers through their app. Moreover, the user can also track their counterpart using the map.

For a full-fledged comparison, keep reading.

Uber vs Lyft, which one’s better

To drive uber, you don’t even need to own a vehicle. You can easily lease through Uber’s partnership with Hertz, Fair, Avis and Getaround. This gives uber a huge edge in the comparison battle.

Lyft drivers earn $25.73 per hour which is $2 higher than Uber drivers. Moreover, they also get better tips per ride.

Finally, another point in Uber’s favor is they have area coverage higher than lyft, and also have better vehicles.

Perks Common in Uber and Lyft

Both apps offer the opportunity to earn great tips.

Moreover, they both offer lucrative referral and sign up bonuses ranging from $300-$750.

General Tip to Earn More

Be aware of upcoming events such as festivals and football matches to get many rides.

How the Federal ACP Could Help Your Family Afford Internet

How the Federal ACP Could Help Your Family Afford Internet

(MoneyHippo.com) – In the age of technology, accessing the Internet to connect with the online world is essential. Unfortunately, the expense can be too much for many Americans who fall below certain income levels, cutting them off from news, banking, education, healthcare, and work. In March, the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) implemented the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), making the Internet accessible to more people across the country.

The program provides qualifying families with up to a $30 per month discount on Internet services and up to $75 per month for those on tribal lands. The ACP also allows for a one-time voucher of $100 toward purchasing a desktop computer, laptop, or tablet as long as the eligible applicant contributes money toward the device.

To qualify for the program, your household income must be at or “below 200%” of the federal poverty level. If you already participate in certain assistance programs like Medicaid, SNAP, or WIC, you may already be eligible for the benefit. The household might qualify for the ACP discount if children receive free or reduced-cost lunches at school.

Before applying, find out if your local Internet company participates in the program. If they do, click here to fill out an application, print and mail a copy for processing, or sign up directly through the participating provider.

Copyright 2022, MoneyHippo.com