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Paying For The Best Health Care For Your Pet

In today’s turbulent times, it’s even more important that pet owners have the financial resources to pay for their pet’s veterinary care. The simple truth is that we love our pets like they are family, and we want to do the right thing for them by taking the advice of the veterinarian and staff to treat them when they’re injured or suffering from an illness. What we fail to recognize is that veterinary care has advanced tremendously over the decades, and diagnostics, treatment, and procedures in the human health care world are pretyy much available for your pets as well. Improved veterinary technology helps us to keep our pets healthier so they live longer and continue to be important members in our families. However, all this comes with a price tag that pet owners are oftentimes not prepared for.

What choices are available to pay for veterinary services? Pet owners could put the charges on their credit card, apply for Care Credit if offered by the veterinary hospital, or look into pet medical insurance. In this issue, we will investigate pet insurance.

Pet insurance has been around in the U.S. since the 1980’s. It’s only gotten more complicated with each passing decade. But there are some simple guidelines that will help you weed through the 12 or so pet insurance companiesout there:

1. Look for a plan that is simple to use and easy to understand. Different plans and options abound, it can be very confusing to understand what is covered and what the exclusions and limitations are. Make sure a sample policy is availableto view on the pet insurance company’s website.

2. Decide what kinds of things you want coverage for. Do you want routine care like the annual or twice a year exam, the vaccinations, and prevention for parasites, etc. covered? Or, can you budget for the above but need help with the unforeseen accidents/injuries and illnesses that your pet may encounter in its lifetime?

3. Look for a policy that has few or no dollar limits per incident/condition, per year, or per claim. No payout limits for the lifetime of the pet is best!

4. Policies that have a deductible option will help you to customize the premium to fit your budget.

5. Policies that pay based on a percentage basis are typically better and easier to understand than ones that don’t. Some cover 70% of the charges, some as high as 80-90%. Make sure reimbursement is based on the actual charges and not on “usual and customary” charges or on a predetermined benefit schedule. And confirm that you get that same coverage at your general practitioner, emergency clinic, or specialist.

6. A policy that covers hereditary and congenital issues is a must have! Coverage for cancer and chronic conditions like diabetes, ear infections, and heart problems are also must haves! If your pet’s breed is prone to certain medical issues, check to make sure they are covered.

7.A policy where the premium increases as your pet celebrates birthdays or as you put in claims is not ideal. One that inreases as cost of veterinary care in the area increases is reasonable.

Lastly, unlike human healthcare, the pet insurance industry is one where you pay your veterinarian for services and then seek reimbursement from the insurance company. And if there’s one piece of advice I can pass along, it’s this: Insurance is the one thing you can’t buy when you need it the most! So, do your homework when your pet is healthy and make an informed decision whether pet insurance can help you to help Fido get the best veterinary care he deserves.


Contributed by: Jean Lew-Martin

                       Territory Partner, Southern CA

                       Trupanion Pet Insurance






September 23, 2011 - Posted by | AV Best Veterinary, Lancaster Veterinary, Palmdale Veterinary, Quartz Hill Veterinary, Rosamond Veterinary

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