Veterinary Pet Health Insurance

With the popularity of veterinary pet health insurance increasing and receiving more press I thought I should make a few comments:

  1. I don’t have any particular company or plan that I recommend at this time. Bear in mind that all plans currently reimburse the owner — you are initially responsible for the veterinary care costs. This is unlike the human health care insurance system. I recommend that pet owners set up an HAS or Healthcare Savings Account for their pets. This is simply a savings account that you periodically put money into on a regular basis for those emergency pet bills you don’t plan on. This will tide you over until you are reimbursed by the pet insurance company.
  2. Be sure to specifically check that the company you are inquiring about insures the Chinese Shar-Pei breed. Ask specific questions about claims concerning entropion repair, cherry eye surgery, Familial Shar-Pei Fever, Streptococcal Toxic Shock Syndrome, hernias and other conditions they may consider “pre-existing”, “hereditary”, “breed-specific” or “congenital”. Some companies may not cover some conditions so ask about the exclusions.
  3. Ask specifically about “preventable” diseases. For example, some companies will not cover heartworm treatment because it is preventable by using heartworm preventives. Other conditions might include pyometra (severe uterine infection) and breast cancer in an unspayed dog, leptospirosis, distemper, parvovirus, etc.
  4. GET EVERYTHING IN WRITING! This would include notes on phone conversations, deductibles, claim handling, answers to your questions, etc. Save everything and document everything as well.

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