Veterinary care has become much more advanced now than it was 10 or 20 years ago. Pets are living longer and we are able to diagnose and treat many more diseases than ever before. With that advanced care comes higher costs. For example, surgery for a broken leg may cost up to 5,000 dollars depending on the severity and location of the fracture. One of the most depressing situations is to have a pet that has a condition we are capable of curing, but are not able to due to financial constraint. In these situations, insurance has become very helpful. An important thing to know, however, is that you cannot get health insurance for a condition AFTER the fact. Insurance should be started when your dog is young and/or healthy to ensure you have the means of giving your pet the best care possible when an accident or illness occurs
How does insurance work?
All veterinary services must be paid for in full at the time the services are rendered. You will then provide us with an appropriate insurance form that must be filled out for each visit, including a section that is filled out by the veterinarian. The receipt for the services, along with the insurance form, is then faxed to your insurance company for any amount covered under the plan(s) you chose.
Which insurance company is the best?
Please ask us for information pertaining to each of the major health insurance companies. Every plan works differently and benefits people in different ways. We advise assessing your pet’s major risks (ask us for help) and calling each company to establish which one best fits the need of you and your pet.
How much of the bill will insurance pay?
There are many companies that will only pay a fixed amount of a procedure done for a specific injury or illness. For example, they may only pay $500 of a knee surgery for your dog even if the surgery costs $2,000. Can you afford the difference?
There are other companies that will pay a certain percentage of a hospital bill, regardless of what type of injury or illness was treated. For example, they may offer to pay 80% of all services regardless of the type of injury or illness being treated.
How quickly will I be reimbursed?
It differs from company to company. There are some companies that have a 7-business day turn-around period, and others that may take a lot longer. If you pay for the services with your credit card, you may want to make sure that the company will send you a reimbursement check before your credit card bill is due.
Will the insurance cover routine wellness exams, vaccines, dental care, etc.?
These things are very important parts of your pet’s preventative health plan. If you cannot afford these things, you may wish to select a more extensive plan that will help you pay for them. However, this will increase the monthly rate of the insurance. Decide what works best for you, whether it is paying a little more per month for health insurance in order to cover preventative visit, or deciding if it would be more cost-effective to pay for these services on your own.
Are there limitations as to what is covered?
As mentioned above, no health insurance will cover pre-existing conditions. Some will also have limitations on hereditary conditions. You will want a plan that has minimal limitations in this area. For example, if you have a beagle that develops glaucoma, some insurance companies will cover this, but others will exclude it because beagles are genetically predisposed to this condition. Make sure you know exactly what is NOT covered by your chosen plan for your pet, and that the list is acceptable to you.