Honey just celebrated her sixth birthday. She’s officially middle-aged.
And as we approached her latest birthday, I started thinking about something I don’t consider with a young pup.
Should we get Honey a pet health insurance policy?
What Is Pet Health Insurance?
The cynic in me who did financial education and counseling for first home buyers for more than a decade says that insurance exists to make money for insurance companies.
While it’s true that insurance companies aren’t in business to lose money, they do offer a service—helping you avoid a catastrophic loss.
Having a pet health insurance policy will not keep you from ever spending money on vet bills. But it can help you avoid going broke if your pet needs medical care.
In the simplest terms, a pet health insurance policy will reimburse you for medical bills you pay for your pet (after you meet the deductible and if treatment is not for a pre-existing condition, etc.).
But outside that dry definition, health insurance for your pet can benefit you in a way you haven’t considered.
How Health Insurance REALLY Helps You
Yeah, it’s nice to know an insurance policy will cover the costs of treating your pet. But have you considered the real benefit?
Health Insurance Makes Money Less Important When Choosing Treatment
Can you imagine sitting in the hospital emergency room while a surgical resident tells you how much that pacemaker your partner needs will cost?
That kind of conversation happens every day in vet hospitals.
The only thing worse than your dog being injured or your cat becoming sick is that horrible discussion with the vet telling you the costs of various treatment choices. Does anyone ever want to say to herself, “I just couldn’t afford the surgery or medication.”?
Other people decide that no cost is too high to care for their pet. But then worry that they can’t pay for the car that gets them to work or make their rent payment on time.
Having health insurance means that you have more freedom to review treatment options than you would if you were solely responsible for paying the bill.
And that’s the real benefit, the intangible help, of pet health insurance.
Making It Personal
As I started seeing more silver appearing in Honey’s golden fur, I began wondering if I should apply for a health insurance policy for her.
Honey is amazingly healthy. We’re lucky that she has no food sensitivities or allergies. Her breeder confirmed that both her parents had perfect hips and eyes before breeding them.
But goldens are prone to cancer.
The vet did a wonderful job and Honey recovered quickly from the surgery.
It got me thinking. But perhaps not fast enough.
We’ve recently found a hard bump between Honey’s shoulder blades. I’ve alternated between hoping it would just disappear, wondering if I should rent a car to take her back to Ithaca to her life long vet, or researching vets in the next city on our cruising route.
I have no news or decision yet. I’m just in a daze. And probably a little bit of denial.
As for health insurance, it would not help us with treatment for this latest bump. Now that we’ve discovered it, it’s a pre-existing condition that would not be covered.
But my hesitation to consider pet health insurance sooner doesn’t have to be your problem.
Pet Health Insurance Changes The Conversation
I think pet health insurance is a good fit for some people. Knowing your vet costs will be reimbursed can simplify a difficult decision.
And maybe, just maybe, pet health insurance would make those tough conversations in the vet’s office just a little bit easier to have.
Your Turn: Do you have pet health insurance? Why or why not?