Thursday, October 31, 2013
Is Pet Health Insurance an Option?
Most pet owners aren't aware that health insurance for their loved animals has been available for about 15 years now. However, both the availability and restrictions on most plans have made this type of health insurance out of reach for most pet owners.Interestingly enough, pet health insurance has changed in the past couple of years. Now, animal owners are able to afford medical procedures previously prohibitive because of the cost. But many skeptics are concerned that health insurance for pets will see an increase in the red tape us humans already encounter every day.Animal medicine is one of the few health care services that isn't financially dependent on health insurance. Medical, dental, surgical and pharmaceuticals are all pretty much covered by health insurance in humans, but veterinary patients are responsible for all of that, themselves. Or, at least their owners are.Health insurance for pets is very similar to insurance for humans. The same fees, deductibles, coverage rates and plans are all in place, with different plans based on the age, species, and general health of your pet.Most health insurance policies for animals start around the 6-8 week range, but when the policies end depend on a variety of factors, mostly decided by the health insurance company. Some have age limits, and some don't.And just like with humans, some health insurance companies will only accept your pet on their plan if they are healthy; others will accept them only if they have had a stable condition for more than six months in a row.Currently, deductibles stand around $100 for pet health insurance. Policy costs vary as much as human health insurance does, unfortunately. Some depend on what types and kind of coverage is desired, and yet others are just blanket coverage catch-alls. Some may only cover accidents and illnesses. And more pets usually means a reduced health insurance rate for subsequent animals.But what if you decide that an health insurance policy is not right for you, and your pet? There are other options, of course!First, discuss your situation with your Veterinarian. Some animal hospitals offer packages that aren't quite health insurance, but can offer a rate deal of some sorts on more mundane medical procedures (spaying/neutering, vaccinations, etc.), or packages for your aging animal.Secondly, research plans that offer discounts on animal health services. PetAssure is one of these companies, but there are a myriad of not-for-profits that may offer this as a side benefit when you join. Or, these same animal not-for-profits may offer financial assistance for pet owners whose health costs are beyond their means - a sort of emergency fund, if you will.All in all, it depends on you, and your pet(s), whether or not pet health insurance is the right choice. Hopefully, with the help of this article, your choice will be an informed one.