Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Health insurance for your dog

Although dogs don't live nearly as long as we'd like, they can live - depending on the breed - 8-15 years or longer. During their lives, it's common for dogs to develop chronic conditions (allergies, ear infections, diabetes, and arthritis to name just a few). Dogs also get hurt. Everything from broken bones and sprains to soft tissue injuries, snake bites and bee stings. They ingest things that may go through or may not - causing a blockage which can require surgery. 

Fortunately, there are a variety of health insurance policies for dogs (and cats). Here's a link to the #1 rated pet insurance company according to Consumers Advocate. To give you a general idea of what coverage can look like, here's what I learned about Healthy Paws:
  1. 15-day waiting period from the day you sign up
  2. They don't cover pre-existing conditions
  3. If your dog is under six years of age when you start coverage, hip dysplasia is covered after one year on the plan
  4. Preventative care is not covered (vaccinations, flea and tick, etc.)
  5. Cost of office visits is not covered
  6. Unlimited lifetime benefits have no annual or per incident caps
  7. Dental coverage is specifically for accidents or injuries to the mouth, like a fractured or damaged tooth. Doesn't cover regular dental cleanings or extractions due to periodontal disease or tartar buildup.
  8. Coverage includes illnesses, accidents, hereditary conditions, congenital conditions, chronic conditions, cancer, diagnostic treatment, x-rays, blood tests, ultrasounds, surgery, hospitalization, prescription meds, emergency care, specialty care, and alternative treatment.
Here is an example of cost, in this case based on a 4-year-old Labrador retriever:
  • $61.68 per month pays 90% of covered costs with a $100 annual deductible
  • $48.93 per month pays 80% of covered costs with $250 annual deductible
  • $38.34 per months pay 70% of covered costs with $500 annual deductible
The Lab that prompted this research recently spent two nights at the emergency vet when she experienced coughing, gagging and vomiting that wouldn't stop. That stay and the treatment she received cost her owner $1,500.

Don't ever put yourself in the position of not being able to treat a sick or injured dog because you can't afford the medical care he or she needs. Even some insurance can make a difference when a dog is diagnosed with something potentially catastrophic like cancer. 

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