All About Pet Insurance
Subject: Protecting Your Pet’s Health and Your Wallet: The Basics of Pet Insurance
Happy Fourth of July to everyone! I hope everyone has a great holiday. To help commemorate Independence Day, I wanted to take this opportunity to do a brief discussion on insurance; because being able to focus on your pet’s well being versus the bill is true freedom.
DID YOU KNOW – FurWell offers a military discount. Just show your military ID at the start of your appointment and we will mark your account. It’s just one way FurWell can say thank you to all the men and women that serve our country.
As in every medical field, costs continue to rise. ? It seems like the world went crazy post COVID and every two months we are experiencing price hikes from our vendors with a nice letter of excuse. And unfortunately, we cannot control these costs. So having the right insurance can be very beneficial, especially with how things are trending. Health insurance helps you ensure that your pet receives the care they need without placing undue financial strain on your family.
Let me try to explain where I think part of the rise in cost is coming from – although I am just as clueless and in shock as you are. Since COVID, the number of pet owners has skyrocketed because more people were stuck inside and now working from home. This has caused a huge influx in the number of pets needing medical care. Unfortunately, we have seen a decrease in staff just like in most professions. So this creates a supply and demand gap; in order to obtain more help to see more patients, clinics are now having to pay much higher to attract candidates. Additionally, the supply chain challenges have made it harder to get medications, and in some cases, certain medications are no longer available because factories have shifted to producing human only drugs to pad their own pockets. These factors, along with the rise in fuel prices,
have increased medication and supply costs to FurWell by over 20% since the start of 2023.
At FurWell, we’ve seen a huge influx in new clients because their previous “primary” veterinarian could not get them in when their pet was sick. Now I am not sure how you can be too busy to see one of your patients in need but I digress.
Sadly, rising costs in the medical sector shows no signs of stopping. This is where pet insurance can provide invaluable peace of mind, especially for unexpected expenses or the management of chronic diseases. But it’s important to know that pet insurance should not be seen as a discount program; rather, it acts as a safeguard to ensure that your pet can receive the necessary care without creating financial difficulties for you.
An average emergency room visit for your pet can quickly cost between $1,000 and $2,000 for basic treatment. Surgical procedures, such as fixing a broken bone or repairing a deep wound, can often cost between $3,000 and $5,000. These unexpected expenses can place pet parents in tough positions, forcing them to make difficult choices based on cost rather than the quality of life. ? No pet parent wants to feel like their pet’s care is compromised due to financial constraints.
I faced a similar situation in 2012 when my 6-year-old Labrador, Ness, was diagnosed with an aggressive cancer on her leg. With many years of life ahead of her and her vibrant spirit, I knew I had to do everything possible to provide her with the best quality of life. However, the cost of chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery to reduce the mass before treatment amounted to over $8,500. These expenses seemed insurmountable, but fortunately, I had enrolled her in pet insurance a year prior. Ness received the treatment she needed and lived another happy 7 years, thanks to the pet insurance that covered 90% of the therapy’s cost.
Pet insurance offers pet parents breathing room—a chance to make choices for their pets’ healthcare based on quality of life and the best available treatment, rather than being limited by financial constraints. But it is incredibly important to remember: ALMOST ALL INSURANCE PLANS STILL REQUIRE YOU TO PAY THE ENTIRE BILL AT THE TIME OF SERVICE THEN THEY REIMBURSE YOU WITHIN 2 WEEKS; SO PLEASE ALWAYS KEEP AN EMERGENCY FUND FOR YOUR PET!
Did You Know: CareCredit is a medical credit card you can get approved for that can be used to cover any medical expense for YOU or YOUR PET, and can give you up to 6 months no interest! It is a great fallback to have in place to cover costs before insurance reimburses.
You can apply for CareCredit Here.
Keep in mind that just like human insurance plans, pet plans are all different. It’s essential to choose the right insurance plan and carrier for your pet’s needs. Here are some factors to consider:
- Coverage Options: Ensure that the plan covers accidents, illnesses, chronic conditions, routine wellness care, and preventive measures like vaccinations and annual check-ups.
- Deductibles and Reimbursement: Evaluate the deductible options and reimbursement percentages offered by different insurance carriers. Understand how these factors will affect your out-of-pocket expenses.
- Waiting Periods: Inquire about waiting periods for coverage. Some insurance plans have waiting periods for specific conditions or treatments, so it’s important to know the details.
- Network of Providers: Check if the insurance company has a network of preferred providers or if you have the freedom to choose any licensed veterinarian.
- Exclusions: Understand the exclusions and limitations of each policy. Some plans may not cover certain breeds, pre-existing conditions, or hereditary disorders.
- Cost: Consider the monthly premiums, co-pays, and potential rate increases over time. Compare different plans to find the best balance between cost and coverage.
- Customer Service: Look for insurance companies with positive reviews and excellent customer service. You want a provider that will be there for you when you need them the most.
I strongly encourage our clients to explore pet insurance options and find a plan that suits their needs. ? While FurWell does not endorse any particular insurance provider, I do believe that having coverage for your pets can give you peace of mind. I personally used Trupanion with my first lab Ness and Emma, Max, and Rex currently have Spot Insurance.
When people ask me about insurance I tell them to look at insurance like this:
- Wellness plans really do not save you money and are simply a savings account for your wellness expenses. So if you are able to budget and pay for those out of pocket when the services occur, that is probably a better option.
- Dental plans can be beneficial. Once again, routine dental cleaning plans are basically a savings plan with no cost savings. Most routine dentals will cost about $500. Non-routine dental plans can definitely save you money because they will cover a portion of extractions, antibiotics, and pain medications. The average non-routine dental will cost almost $1000 by the time it’s said and done!
- Sickness and medical accident plans are where insurance is most helpful. This should cover a large portion of any non pre-existing medical conditions. This is going to help you cover the cost of big ticket items such as radiographs, surgery, bloodwork, cancer therapy, and chronic medications for conditions like diabetes.
⚠️ CAUTION: MAKE SURE YOUR PET IS NOT EXCLUDED FROM CERTAIN MEDICAL CONDITIONS DUE TO THEIR BREED. I HAVE SEEN SOME PLANS NOT COVER ALLERGIES IN GOLDENS OR CANCER IN BOXERS FOR EXAMPLE.
- There are some plans that will also allow you to pursue alternative medicine such as hydrotherapy, acupuncture, and stem cell therapy.
Did You Know: The best time to get pet insurance is before any word of illness touches your pet’s chart. I highly recommend you get insurance after your pet’s first wellness exam.
We are here to support you in making informed decisions for your pet’s health. If you have any questions about pet insurance or need assistance in selecting a plan, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at (864) 292-6433.
Stay well, and give your furry friends an extra belly rub from all of us at FurWell!
Thought for the Week: If corporate vets were actual pets, the only commands they would know would be sit, stay, and wait.
FurWell Veterinary Hospital – The ONLY Premium Veterinary Service In the Upstate