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Thread: Hip Displaysia/Health Insurance

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by arasara


    I just got off of the phone with the vet insurance company. I asked them specifically about certian hereditary conditions and why do they have a testamonial on their website from a customer bragging because they are covering her for special medical food when it says clearly in their exclusions that they don't cover special food? I guess nothing is ever black and white, like they claim.
    How did they field that one? Good question.

    ....Having SM, MVD, and luxating patallaes all three are highly unlikely however it's good to know that if the unlucky time comes then you have nothing to worry about. I'de rather pay $50 a month than $2500 if something happened and we had a broken leg or something.
    yeah--it's bad enough to have the stress of a sick baby. To have catastrophic expenses on top of that is something i'm willing to pay not to experience.

    I can't find on the pet care website where it says that there's an option for double coverage. How'd you get this feature? Maybe it's only available in the US?
    Here's the webpage:
    http://www.petcareinsurance.com/us/dog/gold/index.asp
    On the right as you scroll down, see where it says "Double your illness coverage," below that where it has a chart titled "Quickcare God Program Coverage Details", and the column on the right says "Double Illness category." They dont' actually have a plan called "Double Illness," It's kind of hidden. On my policy it says "Quickcare Gold" and in parenthesis it says "Double illness."

    $50 a month is not too bad to pay if you're getting all of those copayments and whtaever dropped. That gives you a good piece of mind too as you can take him to the vet whenever you suspect anything fishy.
    Yes. I've never had this kind of insurance before, where you make claims. At work, i have the kind where you just go to the doctor and it's paid for, except for a small copayment. So i was kind of worried about filing a claim and then having to haggle with them about what they would or wouldn't pay, and having it take a long time. So i was really pleasantly surprised when they covered everything i claimed and so fast, it was hard to believe. I'm still not quite grasping how easy it was, i'm still expecting it to be harder. But as i get used to it, it will really help reduce stress if Zack gets sick.

  2. #12
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    Actually to me it sounds like they probably exclude genetic conditions -- the clause (which I think you have misinterpreted) that says conditions present at birth *including* anything found bu a vet on an exam to me sounds like genertic, inherited disorders -- as the disposition towards these would be present at birth.

    SM is present at birth -- at least the conditions for it to develop, because the skull malformation is there and the malformation alone can cause the same complex of symptoms.

    So it is important to get these clarifications directly from the company. Also be aware insurance companies can change their policies. Personally I fear that as SM seems to be prevelant in the breed, is increasingly in serious forms, and is costly to diagnose and treat, it will eventually be removed from coverage by the few companies that cover it.

    Overall I do feel insurance is well worth the cost for 1 or 2 dogs (at least by Irish/UK prices; our premiums are a lot lower I think than the US). Once you start to get a number of dogs it is probably cheaper to just save money into a fund each year to cover health costs if needed.
    Karlin
    Cavaliers: Jaspar Leo Lily Tansy
    In memory: Lucy
    Cavalier SM Infosite:www.smcavaliers.com

  3. #13
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    Karlin, do you have a sense of how much people have to pay for medical costs for SM in the worst case scenario in the US, like, if there is a fairly early onset with severe symptoms, MRIs, medication and surgery?

    My idea of treatment for MVD, which is minimally informed, is that its generally treated with medication, along with emergency room hospital treatment for symptoms of heart failure or arrhythmia or ??

    I'm not familiar with cases where the valvular disease has been treated with surgery, such as valve replacement or pacemaker, and whether that is common. I need to get an idea of what these costs can run into too in the worst case scenario but am not sure how to get this information.

    It would be great if there were a resource that gave even rough estimates or ranges of the expense involved in medical treatments, allowing for geographic variation

  4. #14
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    I don't know costs with MVD but the tests are probably what is most expensive. they don't do valve replacements -- there was a post on this somewhere a while back. The survival rate isn't very high or very long.

    SM can be very costly. MRIs for diagnosis range from $400 (low cost clininc in NYC) to a more typical $1000-2000 (however the $400 MRI wouldn't be suitable for planning a surgery, it is just a diagnostic MRI). Surgery is about $4-5,000. Usually another MRI is done a year after or so. Then there are drugs, the most expensive being Neurontin. Usually the dog stays on that.
    Karlin
    Cavaliers: Jaspar Leo Lily Tansy
    In memory: Lucy
    Cavalier SM Infosite:www.smcavaliers.com

  5. #15
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    Thanks, it sounds like, worst case scenario, SM can definitely exceed $6000, if surgery were chosen.

  6. #16
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    I got a call back from the VetInsurance company yesterday. They told me that they will cover anything related to MVD and or SM!! Can you believe that? They said specifically that they don't feel that it's the owner's fault if the dog gets sick.

    As far as your premium increasing for the amount of claims that you make they told me that most companies are similar to a driver. If the driver runs into a pole a million times then the insurance will go up because their driving is considered "reckless." However, they said they don't believe that any animal should be punished for being sick no matter how many times it happens because you can't help illnesses. That's why they give comprehensive coverage up to $15,000. How you wish to use it is how you wish to use it, no questions asked.

    They were willing to compare any other companies over the phone and openly told me to go and research them should I choose because they said they firmly believe any well informed pet owner will choose them for insurance.

    As far as the special food goes he said they will not cover prescription diets such as hypoallergenic food or anything like that, however, (and this is the exact analagy that he used,) if your dog swollows a tennis ball and needs special food to break up the tennis ball then they will cover that.

    All hereditary conditions are covered, except for hip displaysia, assuming that the condition is not pre-existing at the time of enrollment, or it does not present itself within the first 30 days of enrollment.

    If SM happens to be one of those things that the company "decides" to exclude, I hope that should we happen to battle it we are the "deciding turn factor" so we will be covered! SM really seems like a pain - so costly. I pray to God that we don't have to deal with it.

    Anyways I am really glad that they called me back with this news yesterday. It makes me breathe/sleep better. (I was gonna say eat, but obviously I never have a problem with that. )

    Thanks guys and take care!! I'll let you know should they decide to change anything important in their policies!!


  7. #17
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    thanks for that report, that is important information. I will definitely look closely at their plan when it becomes available here.

    Their comparison chart with respect to Petcare is not correct, it should be revised. They have distorted information to make their plan look better, which doesn't present the best impression. The 'competitively priced' (their term) Petcare policy has 100% coverage, no copayment, $3000 per illness for 12 illness categories, $36000 lifetime benefit, $38 a month, $75 deductible per incident, i think.

    Like they say, it would be the unusual animal that would use up the $15,000. My cat is 13 and i've probably paid $200 in vet expenses in her life, although now that she is old that will probably change. All the dogs i had before never had vet bills. Of course, that was in the days when animals were healthier than they are now, and the decline in pet health is something i hope someone is looking into. There are some people who attribute the change to increase in vaccination exposure, but whatever it is, need for vet care has increased since i last had dogs 20 years ago. I think that SM has been increasing in frequency, at least some experts say that though there is controversy about it i think.

    as far as judging how much insurance coverage is neeed, cavaliers seem to have more medical issues that the average dog. i have to consider that.

    So a cavalier just might be one of those dogs who would use up the $15000 and would be more likely than some other breeds to use it up (i am assuming those are American dollars they're talking about. If they're talking about Canadian dollars, that would be a lot less coverage relative to expenses in the US, wouldn't it?)

    If i was young, like in my 20s or 30s, i would not see it as a problem to risk the vet costs going several thousand over the $15000, but i'm 57 and hoping to retire before too long, and my pension is pretty small, like less than half of what i make now, and i don't own a home, so it woud be unwise to go into debt several thousand dollars at this stage or to use up the small amount of savings i have.

    The same is true of the other insurance plans. On Petcare, i have $6000 per illness category. That is probably adequate for most categories, more than adequate, but SM might go over--but that would probably be a worst case thing, i don't know. I need to research that by talking to people who have experienced SM. I think that the competitively priced $3000 per illness category on Petcare is probably adequate too, for most pets, but not sure about Cavaliers. Again, if i were young, it wouldn't be a problem to risk a debt of several thousand, there would be time to pay it off before retirement. but for me, with a cavalier, $3000 per illness category is probably not enough.

    If the vet insurance.com comparison chart was more accurate, it would show that for $3000 a month 70% coverage, Petcare's premium is $23 a month, not $35. For $23 a month, that's the best value i've seen yet looking at plans on the web.

    If the vetinsurance company's total coverage was $20,000 US lifetime, i think i'd feel secure with it (at my age) but need to get a more realistic feel for whether $15000 would adequately cover a cavalier with MVD and SM and knee surgery and eye or ear treatment. It's very appealling to be able to use the coverage for whatever is needed.

    I like that they gave you a timely personal reply. And it's very good to hear that insurance companies are assessing it to be worth their while to offer coverage of these conditions.

    About car insurance, my insurance company assesses fault. You can have all the accidents you want without them raising your premium if you are assessed not to have been at fault. They don't penalize you for being unlucky and being harmed by something you had no control over. so I would say Vet Insurance is not using a correct analogy there, if that's true of other car insurance companies as well. I do think that their policy is probably like other policies in specifying that if the pet's condition is caused by owner negligence or abuse, it won't be covered.

    I'm glad you brought up this issue because i never have seen any information from Petcare about raising premiums. That's not mentioned in my policy. so i will call them and ask if my premiums will be raised related to how many claims i make, or how much my claims cost! That's a very important matter. I will tell them about the vetinsurance company's comparison chart and their assertion that Petcare will raise my rates if i make claims, and see what they have to say.

  8. #18
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    Personally I think one of the biggest causes in the decline of pet health is people who breed purebred dogs with no knowledge of pedigrees, breed health issues, genetics and how genes work, and who don;t do any of the basic tests to clear their breeding stock for key health problems. These MUST be specialist clearances -- not 'what the vet says'. A vet cannot assess something like cardiac health.

    If we as puppy buyers purchase puppies from breeders who do none of the above then we contribute to the problem of gradual decline in overall breed health. Tip offs are, they do not show their dogs so they have NO idea of what a proper breed example looks like and therefore are likely breeding dogs that should never have been bred; cannot produce documentation on testing; they say their lines are clear of disorder X; they says their dogs come from champion lines from country Y which has no problems with that health condition; they register their dogs with bogus registries because their breeding stock are poor quality, unregistered dogs to begin with; they are not selling their puppies on limited registration because they don't care if YOU breed their poor breed examples -- they may even encourage you to breed to 'make back the cost of your puppy'!; ... and on and on.
    Karlin
    Cavaliers: Jaspar Leo Lily Tansy
    In memory: Lucy
    Cavalier SM Infosite:www.smcavaliers.com

  9. #19
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    makes sense karlin.
    i don't recall if what i read about decline in pet health applied to mixed breeds as well.
    what you said about showing dogs and knowing what the proper example of the breed looks like--recently i read a post by a breeder on a cavalier SM list that suggested the possibility that breeding for a certain look may have contributed to increasing SM frequency. Is this a common or respected hypothesis? I'm sure it must be controversial because of the challenges in trying to understand and explain all the cases of SM, and inevitable speculative nature of most ideas at this stage in the development of knowledge.

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