What Is Coinsurance?

If you’re wondering what coinsurance is, you’re not alone. Coinsurance is one of the tricky out-of-pocket costs overlooked by too many people that can end up costing you a fortune. Here’s how to avoid overpaying.

FirstQuote Health Staff
Published on
January 25, 2023
Last Updated on
May 16, 2023
What Is Coinsurance?

Knowing about coinsurance and how it works is important because it affects how much you’ll end up paying out-of-pocket for healthcare costs. Coinsurance usually kicks in after the deductible has been met and can range anywhere from 10% to 50%, depending on your health plan. Understanding your coinsurance rate can help you budget for any medical expenses you might incur, and adjust your healthcare plan if necessary. It’s also important to remember that some services may not be covered by your insurance at all, so knowing your specific coinsurance rate can help ensure that you don’t find yourself with a large surprise bill after treatment.

There’s a reason so many people turn to health insurance agents and brokers when they’re shopping for the perfect plan, it’s because understanding what you’re signing up for is nearly impossible. Health insurance jargon is complex, to say the least, and that’s what so many end up paying for hidden costs that aren’t so hidden. If you’re looking through your policy and see a term you don’t recognize, we’re here to help. So, the next time you find yourself asking, “what is coinsurance?” Here’s what you need to know.

What Is Coinsurance?

Coinsurance is a form of cost-sharing between you and your health insurance provider. It typically refers to the percentage you’re obligated to pay towards a claim, while your insurer picks up the remaining percentage. If it’s still a bit confusing, keep reading for some real-world examples that will help explain it a bit better.

In short, It refers to the percentage of medical costs that you are responsible for paying after your deductible has been met. For example, if you have an 80/20 coinsurance, it means that after you’ve paid your deductible, the insurance company will pay 80% of covered healthcare costs, and you’ll be responsible for 20%. Coinsurance can be expensive, so understanding what your coinsurance rate is before signing up for a plan can help protect against any surprise medical expenses.

What is the Difference Between A Copay and Coinsurance?

Copays and coinsurance are two types of costs associated with health insurance. A copay is a set amount that you must pay for each doctor visit or prescription, while coinsurance refers to a percentage of the total cost that you are responsible for. Generally, copays tend to be cheaper than coinsurance as coinsurance typically covers a larger share of the cost. It’s important to review your plan’s terms and conditions in order to understand what your specific copay and coinsurance amounts are so that you can budget accordingly.

Pros and Cons of Copays

Copays have both advantages and disadvantages for consumers. On the plus side, copays make it easier to budget for healthcare expenses since they are a fixed fee that is known up front. Additionally, they are usually applied to smaller, more common treatments such as doctor visits or prescription drugs. On the other hand, copays can add up over time and become expensive depending on how often you go to the doctor or need medication. Consequently, those with chronic conditions may find the cost of copays burdensome in comparison to a coinsurance plan which typically covers a higher percentage of the overall cost.

Pros and Cons of Coinsurance

Coinsurance has both advantages and disadvantages for consumers. On the plus side, coinsurance typically covers a higher percentage of the overall cost of treatments than copays do. This can make it more affordable for those seeking long-term care or needing expensive treatments. On the other hand, coinsurance can be difficult to budget for since the amount you owe is determined at the end of the procedure and may come as an unwelcome surprise. Additionally, coinsurance plans often require that you pay a certain percentage of any out-of-network costs, making them less flexible than copay plans when seeking medical care outside your insurance network.

When Does Coinsurance Go into Effect?

Your health insurance company doesn’t start splitting any claims with you until you meet your deductible, and the same is true for coinsurance. Coinsurance goes into effect only after your annual deductible has been met, and even then, you’ll still have to pay a portion of all your claims until your out-of-pocket maximum is met.

How Coinsurance Works

Coinsurance works as you might expect, but let’s break it down a bit further. For this example, let’s assume that your annual deductible has been met, and your out-of-pocket maximum has not been met. This will set up an easy-to-follow scenario that outlines exactly what you can expect your coinsurance costs to be.

In this scenario, you go to the doctor for a routine checkup, and thankfully they find nothing wrong with you. Since you went to a doctor in your network, the cost is pretty standard, and you get a bill for $100. Now remember, your deductible has already been met, so right now your Explanation of Benefits (EOB) looks something like this:

  • Physician Visit: $100
  • Coinsurance: 80/20
  • Owed Amount: $20

Here’s how we arrived at your $20 owed amount. Your coinsurance will usually be split into 2 different percentage totals. The first number is usually what your health insurance company will pay towards the claim, and second is what you will pay towards the claim. In the above scenario, you have a plan that splits coinsurance costs 80/20, meaning your insurer pays 80% while you pay 20%.

Since the total claim amounted to $100, your insurer paid $80 towards the bill. That accounts for the 80% they are obligated to pay per your policy. You’re on the hook for the remaining $20, since that amounts to the 20% you’ve agreed to pay per your policy. It’s important to understand your coinsurance rates because as you can see, any other plan could end up costing you significantly more.

Understanding Coinsurance Rates

Your coinsurance rates can vary, meaning that depending on your plan you may end up paying anywhere from 0% to 100% of your claim. While the most common coinsurance rate is 80/20, sometimes shortened to 20% coinsurance, other rates can include:

  • 0/100 coinsurance (100% coinsurance) - You pay 100% of the claim
  • 10/90 coinsurance (90% coinsurance) - You pay 90% of the claim
  • 20/80 coinsurance (80% coinsurance) - You pay 80% of the claim
  • 30/70 coinsurance (70% coinsurance) - You pay 70% of the claim
  • 40/60 coinsurance (60% coinsurance) - You pay 60% of the claim
  • 50/50 coinsurance (50% coinsurance) - You pay 50% of the claim
  • 60/40 coinsurance (40% coinsurance) - You pay 40% of the claim
  • 70/30 coinsurance (30% coinsurance) - You pay 30% of the claim
  • 80/20 coinsurance (20% coinsurance) - You pay 20% of the claim
  • 90/10 coinsurance (10% coinsurance) - You pay 10% of the claim
  • 100/0 coinsurance (0% coinsurance) - You pay 0% of the claim

Your Coinsurance Maximum

You can breathe a bit easier knowing that there is a coinsurance maximum that will save you from paying out-of-pocket for every claim you make. Most often, you coinsurance maximum will be included in your out-of-pocket maximum, the annual limit to how much you’ll have to pay towards your medical bills. Once you hit your coinsurance maximum, regardless of your plan, your insurance company will pay 100% of claims.

Lowering Your Coinsurance Rates

If you hate having extra costs looming over your head, there are two ways to lower your coinsurance rates. The first is a bit obvious now that you know what to look for, but effective. All you have to do is find a plan that comes with a lower coinsurance rate. You will probably end up paying a bit more upfront in monthly premiums, but you may end up saving money in the long run.

The second option requires you to purchase health insurance through the marketplace. With Cost Sharing Reductions (CSR), you could be eligible for subsidies based on your income. If you purchase a Silver Plan through the health insurance exchange and earn between 100% to 250% of the federal poverty line, you may qualify. So, make sure to explore all your options.

What is Coinsurance in Property Insurance?

Property coinsurance is a feature of property insurance policies that requires policyholders to insure their properties for certain minimum values or face penalties. The goal of coinsurance is to ensure that policyholders have adequate coverage in the event of a loss. At its most basic, property coinsurance requires policyholders to insure their property at least 80% of its full replacement cost—if they do not, they may be subject to reduced compensation from their insurer in the event of a loss. This percentage can vary depending on the insurance company, so it’s important for consumers to check their contracts for details about coinsurance and how it might affect them if a claim were ever filed.

Property coinsurance is typically a mandatory requirement in most property insurance policies. This means that policyholders will not be able to purchase a policy unless they agree to insure their properties at a certain level of coverage. The minimum requirements often depend on the type of property being insured, as well as the local area’s regulations surrounding coinsurance requirements. For example, many areas have laws that require property owners to purchase at least an 80% coinsurance policy for specific properties like homes and condos. So if you own valuable property, make sure you understand your coinsurance requirements before signing up for an insurance policy.

Does coinsurance vary if I go to an in-network vs. an out-of-network provider?

Coinsurance can vary depending on whether or not a policyholder chooses to go to an in-network or out-of-network provider. Generally, coinsurance is higher for out-of-network providers as the insurance company does not have contracts in place with that provider and will usually have to pay a higher share of the cost. In-network providers, on the other hand, are typically part of an insurance network and may offer discounted rates for certain services, resulting in lower coinsurance costs. It is important to research which providers are in-network before you receive services to make sure you are getting the lowest available coinsurance rate.


What is Coinsurance? In summary, coinsurance is generally your share of the costs of a health care service. It refers to the percentage you’re obligated to pay towards a claim. Coinsurance is also an important aspect of property insurance that requires policyholders to insure their properties for certain minimum values or face reduced compensation from their insurer. It is generally mandatory, meaning you must agree to it when signing up for a policy, and the specifics of coinsurance can vary from provider to provider. Understanding coinsurance requirements beforehand can help you ensure your property is adequately covered in case of any unexpected losses or damages.

FirstQuote Health can also help you find a plan with coinsurance rates that fit your needs. If you want to easily compare health insurance rates in your area, all you have to do is type in your zip code to see what health plans are available. By getting started now, you can get covered as early as today.

Popular Articles

Find Health Insurance Quotes in Under 5 Minutes

Simply enter your zip code to find health plans in your area

Redirecting, please wait...
There appears to be an error. Please submit a valid ZIP code.