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Pet Health Insurance
Health insurance for cats and dogs has been around for over a decade, but many people are still unfamiliar with it. Like all insurance, a pet health insurance policy insures against health costs while charging a monthly premium whether or not claims are made. It does not work like an HMO, however. Pet owners generally can go to any veterinarian in the country. The insurance company provides the policy holder with a form for the veterinarian to sign stating what diagnosis was made. Owners are responsible for full payment of their bills, and then submit the forms to the insurance provider for reimbursement.
Several pet health insurance providers exist and each offers a variety of policies. They range from high-deductible plans that just cover emergencies to low-deductible plans that cover wellness exams, vaccines, and dental care. In general, it is much less expensive to start the policy when your pet is young because pre-existing conditions won’t be covered. For more information and links to some of the providers, please see below.
Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI): www.petinsurance.com
ASPCA Pet Health Insurance: www.aspcapetinsurance.com
Pets Best Insurance: www.petsbest.com
Researching Pet Insurance? Visit www.petinsurancereview.com
Frequently Asked Questions:
Is pet health insurance like having an HMO?
No. With most insurance providers, you are able to see any licensed veterinarian, rather than being limited to only a few veterinarians within
the insurance company’s network. Also, you as the pet owner usually pay the veterinary bill at the time of service, rather than making a
copayment. You, rather than the health care provider, then submit the claim and the insurance provider pays you.
When is the best time to buy health insurance for my pet? Isn’t it better to wait until he’s older or has a health problem?
The best time to purchase health insurance for your pet is when it is still a puppy or kitten. You can still purchase policies later in life, but your
coverage might be limited by “preexisting” conditions your pet develops before the policy is effective. What you do not want to do is wait until
your pet is sick and really needs the insurance. At that point, the current illness will not be covered.
Isn’t it expensive to purchase health insurance for pets? I mean, is it really worth it?
It is actually less expensive to purchase pet health insurance than it is human health insurance. Employers typically pay 80% to 90% of
an employee’s premium, however, which is not usually the case for pet health insurance (although some companies may offer pet health
insurance as an employee benefit). Still, pet insurance costs generally reach only between $20 and $50 per month, depending on your
policy. The American Animal Hospital Association strongly suggests all pet-owning families assess their financial situation and consider
their ability to meet unexpected expenses that may arise for veterinary care. One of the ways these expenses can be met is through pet
My pet lives inside. Indoor pets don’t have too many health problems, do they?
While outdoor pets are more likely to be victims of certain accidents and illnesses, being an indoor pet does not guarantee good health.
Accidents can occur in the home and indoor pets can succumb to a variety of illnesses. It is always better to be prepared.
Is submitting claims a complicated process?
Reputable pet health insurance providers should have an easy claims process. This usually consists of taking a copy of your claim form with
you to an office visit, having your veterinarian provide your pet’s diagnosis and sign the form, then submitting the completed claim form to the insurance provider along with supporting receipts and invoices.