As veterinary medicine advances, the cost of pet health care increases. Whether you’re considering the cost of preventive care and routine annual exams, or staring at an estimate for an unforeseen emergency visit, there’s no way to sugar coat it—veterinary medical care is expensive.
However, when you compare the cost of your pet’s emergency visit with one of your own visits to the hospital or emergency room, you’ll probably find that your veterinary bills are much lower. For example, the average cost of a human hysterectomy nationwide is $19,450, whereas a dog’s spay on average is less than 2% of that.
Pet health insurance may be the answer
If veterinary medicine truly is less expensive than human medicine, why doesn’t it feel that way? The answer is simple—health insurance.
You carry a health insurance plan for yourself and your two-legged family members, so you may have a copayment at your doctor’s office, but your health insurance covers the rest of the bill. At the veterinary clinic, however, you are responsible for paying the entire bill at the time of service. Although veterinary costs are much less than human medical costs, that often doesn’t seem to be the case, because there is no health insurance contribution.
Pet insurance is good protection
Nothing is more heartbreaking to veterinary professionals than seeing pet owners struggle to pay for their pet’s care. That’s why we want all pet owners to be prepared for unforeseen veterinary medical costs, and we believe that pet health insurance is the best protection. When you don’t have to worry about the cost of an animal emergency clinic visit, or any visit to your family veterinary clinic, you can focus on your pet and her health.
Pet health insurance is relatively new, but rapidly becoming more popular. National insurance companies like Geico and Nationwide now offer pet insurance, as well as companies like Petplan and Trupanion, which specialize in pet health insurance.
Choosing the best insurance plan for your pet is difficult because, as with human health insurance, there are so many variables—your pet’s age and breed, extent of coverage, deductibles, and copayments—that will determine the policy you want and its cost.
Here is our list of the most frequently asked questions about pet health insurance:
Question: What is pet health insurance?
Answer: Like human health insurance, pet health insurance covers a portion of your pet’s medical treatment expenses, and usually requires a copayment, and a deductible that must be met before costs are reimbursed.
Q: How much does pet health insurance cost?
A: The cost of pet health insurance depends on many variables, including:
- Level of coverage
- Deductible amount
- Copayment amount
- Where you live
- Your pet’s age
- Your pet’s breed
Most pet health insurance websites provide instant quotes for your specific needs.
Q: How does pet health insurance work?
A: Most pet health insurance policies require that you pay for your pet’s visit, and then submit a claim to the insurer, who will reimburse you the cost of the visit, minus the deductible.
Q: What does pet health insurance cover?
A: Coverage depends on the policy you choose. Some policies cover accident and injury only, while others will cover your pet from whiskers to tail. Some policies cover pre-existing conditions and genetic or breed-related health problems. You can compare pet health insurance policies at Pet Insurance Review’s website.
Q: Does pet health insurance require a co-payment?
A: Most pet health insurance plans will require a 10% to 30% copayment after the deductible is met.
Q: Does pet health insurance cover pre-existing conditions?
A: Most pet health insurance companies will not cover pre-existing conditions, or hereditary conditions, such as hip dysplasia. If they do cover these conditions, pet health insurance companies will require a waiting period that can range from 48 hours to weeks or months, depending on the condition, during which no reimbursement claims can be made.
Q: Is pet health insurance worth it?
A: This is a tough question. Veterinary medicine can be expensive, as can pet health insurance. But, we believe the peace of mind that comes with knowing you can always cover the cost of your beloved pet’s medical care is priceless.
We encourage you to have some type of pet emergency plan, and we recommend some form of pet health insurance. However, look for our next blog post, which will include other suggestions for covering veterinary costs.