There are a few companies that provide pet health insurance. The first pet insurance company came into being in 1982, recognizing the need for pet owners to have some protection against rising pet health care costs. In those first few years, there were quite a few pet health insurance companies, but the crowd has thinned out somewhat since.
Costs of pet health care have risen sharply over the years mainly because of changes in technology. Now that veterinarians have access to high tech tests like MRI’s, they order them regularly, and they are not cheap. Also, better tests have led to illnesses being diagnosed and treated that may have never even been known about before.
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Pet health insurance works in very similar ways to health insurance for people. With pet insurance, you pay a premium either monthly or yearly. You pay a health insurance co-payment or some set percentage for regular checkups, immunizations and teeth cleanings.
Your pet insurance would pay some portion of your other pet health costs, after a deductible. There are several variations on pet health insurance plans, from more expensive plans that cover almost everything with little or no deductible to cheaper plans that cover just the basics, often with a higher deductible.
What sort of procedures might not be covered by pet health insurance?
As with human medical insurance, there are always some things that are not covered. According to an article on the MSN Money website, most pet insurance policies do not cover pre-existing health conditions or hereditary conditions like dysplasia in retrievers and German shepherds.
Congenital conditions are not covered by some pet insurance providers because it is hard to detect how long the animal has had the condition, so the condition may be pre-existing. Some examples of conditions like this would be patellar luxation, elongated soft palate, umbilical hernia, and portosystemic shunt. Sometimes a health insurance provider also won’t cover preventable conditions like kennel cough, which can be prevented through vaccination.
How much does pet health insurance cost?
The cost of pet insurance varies according to the breed of pet, the age at the time of insurance, and, of course, which company you go with. In general, pet insurance costs can range from $2,000 to $6,000 over the life of a pet. Monthly premiums are usually in the range of $15 to $50, with an average of about $27 per month.
In addition to the premiums, people with pet health insurance will still have to pay other pet health costs. Co-pays are almost always required for veterinary visits or procedures and they usually range between 20% and 50% of the cost of treatment. Pet health insurance deductibles are usually between $50 and $100.
What are the benefits of pet health insurance?
The most obvious benefit of pet health insurance is that it absorbs some of the cost of treating a pet’s major injury or illness. A major treatment for a pet could cost thousands of dollars and insurance might be able to reduce that cost to hundreds.
Another benefit of pet health insurance is coverage for normal examinations, teeth cleanings and vaccinations. With these expenses at least partially covered, a pet owner is more likely to keep up with regular checkups and treatments for their pet. A pet that gets regular checkups, vaccinations and teeth cleanings is less likely to develop long term health problems.
Is the cost of pet health insurance tax deductible?
At this time, pet health insurance premiums are not tax deductible. There have, however, been pieces of legislation introduced over the years that have been aimed at providing tax relief for pet ownership costs. As yet, they have been largely unsuccessful.
How many people have pet health insurance?
There is a lot of variation in reports of how many people have pet insurance. According to an article on CNN’s website, it was estimated that only three percent of Americans had pet insurance in 2004, as opposed to nearly 50% of pet owners in Sweden. Some recent estimates of pet insurance usage in the United States are right around five percent.
It’s hard to determine where pet insurance usage rates will go from here. A recent survey indicated that about 40% of pet owners are concerned about their ability to pay for their pet’s medical problems. However, current economic conditions are such that many people are unwilling to take on the extra expense of pet health insurance.
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