Health Insurance can seem confusing right? It’s hard to know what the best options are for you, and guess what folks? Pet Insurance is not that much different! I’m here to help navigate you a little bit to see if pet insurance is right for you with my own personal story.
I’ll be the first one to admit that I don’t even understand my own health insurance most of the time. What’s covered? What’s my copay? Where can I go? We decided that Tucker needed insurance after he had to have surgery for an obstruction at the end of 2014. I had debated getting some prior to the surgery and I really wish we had done so. We were faced with a huge medical bill. I mean, really, some of it was ridiculous–the itemized receipt showed that they even charged us down to the gloves they wore for the surgery. But whatever, they saved his life. They could have all my money if they want. After that wallet dumping, I researched pet insurance companies because if we ever have to deal with something like that again, I’d like to know we’re covered. Also, as I sat in that hospital waiting room (which was pretty depressing), I saw many people bringing their dogs in for various treatments. With Tucker being a golden retriever, I know he’s at a higher risk for other illnesses such as cancer and hip problems. I wanted to make sure we were covered.
Now I will tell you, at the time of my research, I don’t think one insurance plan covered routine vet visits- you know, your dog’s annual exam. To me, that didn’t really matter- I wanted insurance for the big things. I went through a few different quotes with some companies and then decided that I liked Pet Plan the best. We have the Bronze Plan and I have a $200 deductible with 100 percent reimbursement and I pay Pet Plan quarterly. I view it as almost catastrophe coverage and to me, it’s worth it. I hope I don’t need it, but it’s there if I do.
Recently, we took Tucker to the vets for an x-ray and it was the first time we’ve been there where the bill was slightly over $200. Don’t worry, everything was OK with Tucker (though I think my husband might have wanted to admit me for being a little crazy). After the visit, I logged on to my Pet Plan portal to figure out just how to file a claim- and I was almost dreading it, afraid that it would be difficult.
In reality, it was very simple- there were two forms that I had to fill out and my vet had to fill out. My vets office then faxed them into Pet Plan and a few days later, I got an email from Pet Plan informing me that they had received my claim and they would contact me or the vets office if they needed more information. Otherwise, they were in the process of reviewing the claim. At any time I could log on to my portal to check the status- so I knew even before my check came that my claim was complete and a check was being mailed to me. Just like our insurance, they give you an explanation of benefits- though unlike the ours, this was pretty easy to comprehend!
If you are thinking about pet insurance, I highly recommend that you check out this article from Whole Dog Journal, Pet Insurance 101. It even includes a nice chart of many of the plans offered. I would also recommend that you go on various pet insurance plans websites and read carefully what’s covered and what’s not as well as get quotes. I’m not going to lie, like our health insurance, it can be a bit dry, but it’s best to educate yourself. Also, check with your employer- many employers these days are hoping on the pet bandwagon and having pet insurance as an HR benefit.
I hope you’ll never need to use pet insurance, but it is definitely nice to know you have it! (Also, I totally waited until after April Fools Day to post this to make sure Tucker didn’t surprise us with something!)