A word on pet health insurance by Patricia Hart, DVM, Southport Vet Center
Ten years ago pet health insurance in this region of the country didn’t make sense. Most companies paid out an averaged price for a service which meant lower Fairfield county prices were averaged with what the same service cost in other regions of the country — and you still needed to pay ½ the bill plus your monthly premium. Today, most insurance providers pay 90% of the actual invoice and pay quickly, some even at the veterinary reception desk upon check-out.
A few cases recently reminded me how important pet health insurance has become.
A lab puppy, who was signed up for health insurance as a pup, tore the cruciate ligament in his knee at 2 years of age. Being a rambunctious pup he injured his 1st repair and needed a 2nd surgery. He also became an allergic dog with the medications and diagnostics that go along with it. His family has paid about $500 out of the $7,000 bill and the bill was paid to us directly by the insurance company so the owners never had to front the money at all. When and if he tears the ligament in the other knee this won’t be considered a preexisting condition and will be covered.
Different dog, different insurance: a 4 year old dog with vague symptoms turned out to have significant liver disease requiring biopsy and decisions needed to be made quickly. Fortunately, because of the insurance coverage cost was not a factor in decision making.
Sadly, another 12 year old dog had a sudden life threatening intestinal emergency and because of the $8,000 estimate given for surgery at the referral facility, the owners chose euthanasia.
I strongly encourage all of our pet owners with healthy animals and no preexisting conditions to look into the pet health insurance plans that are out there. It’s best to sign them up as pups and kittens because then nothing is a preexisting exemption — and I truly believe pet health insurance will help you and your pets.