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View Full Version : Re: In your opinion: Why health insurance?



Charley's Mom
24th January 2007, 03:29 AM
I would love to hear your opinions on healthcare insurance for Cavaliers. I've seen other threads/posts for specific illnesses. What are your suggestions/opinions for puppies? What type of care/ plan?

I know PetCare is recommended a lot. What are the reasons this plan seems to be recommended more than others?

I'm assuming it's because Cav's have specific health problems. What are the statistics regarding Cav's getting those diseases?

My husband thinks that paying $500 a year for healthcare that doesn't cover the dog 100% is very high and said over the lifetime of the dog it would be over $5,000. That's how much it would be for our dog for the PetCare insurance.

Has anyone gotten the high bills for medical care as they give as examples on their website? What about shots and regular visits? Are they covered?

After everything I've read I feel like we should get coverage for Charley but convincing my husband is another thing.

Thank you!

Kodee
24th January 2007, 03:39 AM
I posted last wk about insurance. I can answer only part of your question though as I am in Canada. We have one plan that allows 15,000 per yr, no limit on any one accident or illness. For me that is the selling point, my pet may have i.e. SM and all the 15,000 may be needed towards that. I dont know if the U.S. has something similar.

Petcare in U.S. and Canada are the same except in Can$ its way more icon_nwunsure. I like it covers all the main Cavalier issues, for you its not too badly priced but I dislike the limit per illness.

We didnt have insurance for our lab, and had we, there was nothing spent we would have ever used it for - it would have been money out the window. But cavaliers are different so my feelings are at least for the first 3-5 yrs I want breed specific illness coverage till I know whats up. There after I will decide whether to reduce the plan or stay the same. I am not interested in unnecessary coverage as vaccines, money for ads, cremation. Those are things I will budget for if I need them.

WoodHaven
24th January 2007, 03:41 AM
Most people get dog health insurance for accidents and big health issues-- not shots ( which I don't give every year ) or small incidentals. I think it was quoted at 24.5/ month with a 200 dollar deductable. Petplan and Petcare seem to be the ones that cover the larger more worrisome issues.
If you have more than a couple of animals-- it would seem money ahead to put the money you would have paid to the insurance into an account to use just in case. Sandy

Zippy
24th January 2007, 03:48 AM
Once he gets a massive vet bill, he'll be cured!!!!

Our Charley had MVD for years, he was on 3 pills and stuff for his skin, supplements etc.

He had patella surgery, infected anal glands that had to be removed, he got a concussion when he fell out of a tree (don''t ask how he got up there!!), whip lash X 2, ear infections that became chronic once he was elderly, needed an opthamologist....I'll stop there.

The insurance doesn't cover shots, neutering, etc. but it does cover everything listed above.

I'd never heard of SM til we got Mary Alice and that's a fortune if it happens.

Seems as if the SM and MVD are hard to avoid...same with cataracts.

I have no idea how many $$$ we spent on Charley, we didn't keep track...but it was way more than $5,000.

We haven't insured Mary Alice.....but are looking at our options.

Our experience is that it isn't the "regular stuff" that's overwhelming, it's all the things that you don't expect/hope won't happen.

This breed is prone to some definite problems that can run your bill up very fast. If I had a new puppy, I wouldn't consider NOT insuring it.

Our Charley was worth every cent.....but he wasn't cheap to keep.

We fondly called him the "Million Dollar Doggie". :flwr: :flwr:

Crittercall
24th January 2007, 04:08 AM
My only experience with Pet Insurance is from working in the clinics. We had one couple who bought the insurance for their cat - and somehow the cat managed to break a leg about three times in the next year. Hmmmm.It was all covered by the insurance.

Shay
24th January 2007, 04:16 AM
I was convinced by having a Lhasa for 13 years that had major medical problem, not unlike Zippy's Charlie. Lhasas aren't really prone to having major health issues, but with every living thing, you never know what you are going to get. I have spent thousands of $$$$ on her for the last 13 years. When I got her, I didn't even know pet insurance existed, but by the time I did, it was too late to insure her, everything would have been pre-existing. As soon as I got Lily, I started researching insurance, especially because of the health issues with Cavs. But even if I would have gotten a different breed, I would have purchased health insurance. I learned my lesson with the Lhasa. I have PetCare because it covers hereditary/genetic conditions.

Karlin
24th January 2007, 11:02 AM
PetCare and PetPlan seem to be the two in the US that currently will cover hereditary conditions and that is what you want with a cavalier. Insurance is matter of your comfort level balanced against cost and risk. I believe PetPlan is less than PetCare in the US. For three or more dogs, it might be more worthwhile to create an account and put that amount you'd otherwise pay for insurance, into your own health account for the dogs.

Insurance costs quite a bit less here so I think it is worthwhile for any dog.

On the other hand people also need to consider whether they feel they would want expensive procedures. Many would do anything for a dog or a cat and that is one legitimate choice. Also, an accident can quickly run up huge bills. I'd be weighing up a lot of things like whether to put the animal through a tough treatment or surgery and long recovery for an uncertain end. I wouldn't be of the mind that anything that could be done, should be done; and am not convinced that running huge numbers of tests for reams of health information and montitoring adds much to the life of an animal as opposed to following well established treatment procedures, say for something like MVD or SM. I don't mean in cases where there are good options and you want to maintain optimal health (though again, I am not sure lots of monitoring necessarily prolongs life or comfort levels significantly. Many feel strongly that it does and in such a case insurance again might therefore be more important). It's just that I've seen a lot of cases where people keep dogs and cats going past where I would have considered them to have a very good quality of life (especially with my experience on some of the SM discussion lists) -- where it seems more for the person than the animal to keep it going as they find it hard to let go.

I also think vets and specialists in the US in particular are a lot more likely to go for surgical procedures and even routine dental cleaning for example, that have larger costs. I don't know whether that's a good thing or not but it definitely means insurance might be considered valuable to many in North America for that reason alone.

So that's not an answer :lol: but perhaps lays out some of the ways in which some people weigh up what is best for them and their animals.

Perhaps worth noting that the friends of mine who have paid out most on health bills own mixed breeds. I've had no problems at all with my cavaliers outside of Leo's SM and that, thank goodness so far, has been very manageable and not very expensive either.

Denise G.
24th January 2007, 05:07 PM
I've had PetCare insurance for a couple of years on my Golden--since he was 8 weeks old. Let's just say--they haven't made too much money off of me. :lol: It's been worth every cent to me. Haven't had to use it for Mia yet, but I have enrolled her. It's definitely not cheap, but I don't ever want to have to make any hard decisions harder because of financial limitations.

Just MHO...

Crittercall
24th January 2007, 09:29 PM
Pet insurance is like insurance for humans (either health or life) - it's a big gamble as to whether you will really need it or not. If you don't have it you will at some point wish you did. Or if you do have it you will regret having paid the premiums for nothing.

Back in the day, as they say, I was always discouraged because it didn't cover the things that were required yearly (vaccines) and I don't think they even covered dentals back then - which most vets I've worked with want to do once a year. Kind of like the micro-chips, I haven't kept up with what they offer now, just know what used to be.

I don't think that my vet clinic even has info around concerning pet insurance. And I think my girls are too old for it now.

Cathy T
24th January 2007, 09:37 PM
Zippy - my goodness you went through a lot with Charley...am dying to know...how in the world did that boy get up in a tree?!! :yikes

I've got both of mine insured with PetCare. I've had VPI and AKC's plan and didn't care for either. The reason I bought insurance is we went through lymphoma with our cat, she was expected to live 2 months and kept going for 18 months....at a cost of about $5,000 (couple hundred here, couple hundred there...it added up!). And then in one month Shelby had knee surgery and Jake had surgery for carcinoma. My vet bills for that month alone were close to $4,000.

I don't plan on the insurance for the "small" stuff...not that $400 is small..but in the whole scheme of things. I wanted it for mvd, sm, cancer, accidents, etc.

Roxanne
24th January 2007, 11:09 PM
I used to think Petcare was the best in the US .....and have 4 of my dogs insured with them. But i recently found out about Petplan ( US company ) and they are better ( Sorry Cathy !!!!! I wish I would have known before i talked you into Petcare !! ) Their premiums are cheaper and their coverage is MUCH higher !! They have only been writing in the US for 2 years but have been in other countries much longer. From what we have found out the Petplan in Canada and UK has different limits and coverages .

For more info on Petplan for US peeps here is the URL

www.gopetplan.com

I just switched my 2 healthy dogs to Petplan and am considering switching one of the others ( she has a pre-existing condition that wouldnt be covered with a new policy )

Coco's mom
24th January 2007, 11:24 PM
I also have Petplan, but I am in Canada. We talked about it in a recent thread. I have the Champion Plan which covers all the hereditary conditions, but also the smaller things like vet visits, vaccinations, urinanalysis, neutering/spaying, dental cleaning, etc.
:flwr:

Cathy T
25th January 2007, 12:12 AM
:x Roxanne!! Oh well, I'm sticking with Petcare since I just switched over last month! :lol:

Dottie
25th January 2007, 02:44 AM
I just tried to get a quote from the PetPlan site and it said it wasn't available in my state! Tennessee, US :roll:

Shay
25th January 2007, 04:19 AM
Me too, and not in Alabama either. There was just a segment on a local news channel about it. They interviewed the owner and showed his Cav. a beautiful black and tan. It was just talking abut how the company is from England and now in the US. Talked about the importance of having Pet Insurance, and that they carry hereditary and genetic coverage. I missed the first part.

Dottie
25th January 2007, 04:53 AM
Well I hope they make it down South soon! ;)

judy
25th January 2007, 08:30 AM
PetPlan isn't available in California at this time. I will stay tuned.

PetCare has worked well for me.

When I got Zack, i signed up for PetCare that day. I already had it on my cat but never used it, after years. I checked about hereditary conditions and they said for sure, so i signed him up.

I don't consider paying premiums for insurance on a healthy animal paying for nothing. I am happy the animal is well and i am happy to have the peace of mind knowing if needed, i have insurance. I would rather be paying premiums on a healthy animal than a sick one!! :D

When i first got zack he had bloody diarrhea and vomiting the first month, it was not covered because it was in the 30 day waiting period. In 5 weeks it cost $1100, it just turned out to be worms and the cure was a cheap medication but it took $1100 before i found a vet that diagnosed it right, the point being it was a simple illness not unusual in a puppy and it cost $1100 in a month.

PetCare put diarrhea as a temporary exclusion on the policy, he would not be covered for diarrhea for one year, unless it could be shown that it was complete different in cause or nature from the first diarrhea. It's been a year and i will get that exclusion removed.

Then Zack was healthy for 4 months. Then, he got sick. The diagnosis was pyoderma, he had skin lesions and abnormal blood tests and other symptoms. That was my first claim with PetCare, it came to about $700 and they paid all of it except the $50 deductible. About a month later, he was playing fetch and he scratched his cornea on a bush. That cost over $300 and PetCare paid everything except the deductible.

It didn't matter which vet i took him to. On the pyoderma, i took him to three different vets and they paid all of the visits, and all the medications.
They also pay for flea treatments like Frontline.

I pay a high premium for $6000 per illness category and 100% coverage with no copayment, i think it's about $53 a month, but they've paid out a lot more than i've paid in.

Barbara Nixon
25th January 2007, 11:01 AM
Although Izzy is costing me £40+, a month, for heart meds, and Teddy is costing for allergy tests, I still feel that I'm not out of pocket, by not having insurance. I've had at least two dogs for most of the time since 1973 and , if I had insured them all, I still would have spent much more money, in total, than I've had to fork out.

I agree with Karlin, in that, if one of mine needed a very expensive procedure, then it would probably be very unpleasant, so I wouldn't want to put my animal through it.

Charley's Mom
1st February 2007, 12:05 AM
Your answers have really helped me out and made me think about things a bit harder. I really love this site and all of you fellow Cavalier lovers. These little dogs are like no other!

Thank you all and if anyone else wants to add something more I'm more than happy to hear your opinion.

:)

KingstonsMom
1st February 2007, 05:15 AM
I ordered PetCare Insurance and the VERY NEXT DAY Kingston had a major injury to his eye. His surgery cost $1700 dollars and PetCare paid the whole thing minus my $50 dollar deductible. It will take three years worth of my monthly premiums to add up to that amount! Getting insurance was one of the best things I could've done.

Kodee
1st February 2007, 04:43 PM
I ordered PetCare Insurance and the VERY NEXT DAY Kingston had a major injury to his eye. His surgery cost $1700 dollars and PetCare paid the whole thing minus my $50 dollar deductible. It will take three years worth of my monthly premiums to add up to that amount! Getting insurance was one of the best things I could've done.didnt you have a waiting period or did you nean after that?

judy
1st February 2007, 05:28 PM
There's no waiting period for accidents, only illnesses. when i took zack to the er during the waiting period, they said they saw a foreign body in his stomach on the xray. that would've been covered but i did't pursue it because i don't think there really was a foreign body, i think he had worms.

Linda'nQuincy
2nd February 2007, 11:57 PM
I also just attempted to get a quote on line from Pet Plan and was told the insurance is not yet available in California.

Shay
3rd February 2007, 01:39 AM
I have now used my PetCare 3 times, all since Jan 5th. All for gastro. Yesterday's visit was $321.00 :yikes the other 2 both right at $100.00. I have now spent more than my annual premiums. I should get reimbursed for 70% after my deductible. So I'm glad I have it. Only problem is, I have $3,000 lifetime max for each illness, so I have already used $500.00 for gastro and she is only 5 mos. Can anyone tell me how long it takes for them to pay a claim? The first one was filed about 3 weeks ago.

Petplan is not available in my state, and when it is, if I switch, gastro will be considered pre-existing, so I don't know if it would be worth it.....what to do, what to do?????

judy
3rd February 2007, 05:15 AM
I have now used my PetCare 3 times, all since Jan 5th. All for gastro. Yesterday's visit was $321.00 :yikes the other 2 both right at $100.00. I have now spent more than my annual premiums. I should get reimbursed for 70% after my deductible. So I'm glad I have it. Only problem is, I have $3,000 lifetime max for each illness, so I have already used $500.00 for gastro and she is only 5 mos. Can anyone tell me how long it takes for them to pay a claim? The first one was filed about 3 weeks ago.

Petplan is not available in my state, and when it is, if I switch, gastro will be considered pre-existing, so I don't know if it would be worth it.....what to do, what to do?????

I would say i received my reimbursement checks around 3 weeks after submitting the claim. Did you fax it? The dates on the checks on all my reimbursements were the same as the day i faxed the claim--it looked like they printed the check the same day they got the claim. But it still took two to three weeks to get my check in the mail. i would probably call them if i were you and ask how long i should expect to wait for the reimbursement to come. On one of them, i started thinking it had been too long so i called them to ask about it and they confirmed that the check had been issued and told me the amount and told me it would be arriving soon.

In the case of PetCare, Zack had a whole month of colitis and vomiting during the 30 day waiting period so it wasn't covered and it turned into a pre existing condition and exclusion on my policy, but it was a temporary exclusion, not a permanent one, which means that after one year i can take him to a vet and have them document that there's no sign of GI illness, and submit that to PetCare and they will remove the exclusion. Or maybe i can just submit all my vet records from the past year and they will accept that to justify removing the exclusion. They understand that there can be different discrete GI conditions that are unrelated to each other, that's why it's a temporary exclusion rather than a permanent one. So, maybe PetPlan would also treat it as temporary and if Lily can go a year without having a GI condition noted in her records, you can have it be covered by PetPlan. You can call or email PetPlan and ask them.

I think that PetCare's lifetime limitations are per illness category, not per illness, which means that the $3000 will be used up by all GI claims combined (it would go farther if it were per illness). When i first got Zack, i signed up for the $3000 coverage, just assuming he was a healthy little puppy who would surely remain healthy for a couple of years at least, so why not keep my premiums down? Three weeks later i had a $424 ER bill plus mounting vet bills, and i could see how fast the $3000 could go, so i called them and switched to the $6000 after about the first month or so. I think the 30 day waiting period applies to that--so if i had gotten a $4000 vet bill during that 30 days for an illness, only $3000 would've been covered during those 30 days.[/img][/i]

Shay
3rd February 2007, 12:49 PM
I think that PetCare's lifetime limitations are per illness category, not per illness, which means that the $3000 will be used up by all GI claims combined (it would go farther if it were per illness).

Thanks for the info. Judy. I am deffinatley going to look in to Pet Plan if it ever gets here, we are usually last to get everything in this state, so I don't look for it anytime soon. Here's to hoping for healthy doggies.