Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Busderpuddle

Pet Insurance

Recommended Posts

Count me in as another happy Healthy Paws customer. The only time I have had issues with them covering something is when I combine things with dentals. Once was x-rays, and the other was removing some growths, since I would prefer not to put my dogs under twice. And that was resolved by sending them very detailed notes about the procedures, and math to exclude the strictly dental parts.

 

And here is my ever-handy link to my post on insurance and cost/benefit discussion, for anyone interested.

 

http://forum.greytalk.com/index.php/topic/319159-pet-insurance-discussion-costbenefit-analysis/?p=5967995


77f6598d-2.jpg

My blog about helping Katie learn to be a more normal dog: http://katies-journey-philospher77.blogspot.com/

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I always thought if you put some money away in an account reserved for your dog's vet and health costs (Frontline, vitamins, supplements, and heart worm meds) was a smart idea. We have been doing that for a quite a few years and it has worked. Until...now. Shine's surgery, for her broken ankle, wiped the account out. Totally. How much would have insurance paid? I have no idea. Did I actually save money over the years maintaining this account? I think so.

 

Insurance companies aren't in business to lose money. You have to realize that most people never use as much insurance as their premiums cost. For catastrophic instances, it does pay.

 

Just my opinion. Whatever it is worth.

I had accident insurance Felix when he was a year old. It was really cheap and of course he never used it. That was one year. I have always figured out what I would spent on insurance when a major problem occured The books were in my favor. But I am more conservative in treatments than others on this board. Once you know your position on treatments and compare companies call and you can try insurance and see if it works to your benefit.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There you go. For catastrophic occurrences, it does pay. I guess people hope they won't have a catastrophic occurrence, or a severe ankle break with surgery. :(

I find it ironic that people pay their auto premiums without question-its really the same thing. Auto insurance wont pay for your oil changes but will pay out for accident claims. Im not singling you out Irene-just a blanket statement.

Edited by tbhounds

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've looked more closely into Pets Best vs Healthy Paws. On the Pets Best website, you can click on a link to another site to read reviews and responses by the company. It seems that most of the poor reviews are simply people not understanding how the insurance works or whey their policy says. So I'm less concerned. I compared a sample policy from Health Paws and Pets Best. They're very similar as to what they cover and don't cover. For example, one bad review on Pets Best (one star review) was because they didn't cover an infection that occurred after declawing their cat. But declawing is not covered, so therefore the infection was not covered. Healthy Paws policy spells out the same thing--they don't cover issues arising from non-covered procedures.

 

It does sound like Healthy Paws is a lot easier to deal with, as far as submitting claims. But for a cheap catastrophic policy, I may go with Pets Best with $1000 deductible.

 

I also want to point out, for anyone not aware of this, that once you sign up with any of these companies, you can't upgrade your coverage once you've submitted a claim. So if I sign up for $1000 deductible and have a claim, I can't do just a $500 deductible the next year. I'm stuck with $1000 forever. Same with coverage limit of 90%, 80% etx. If you start with 80%, you can't upgrade to 90% if a claim has ever been submitted.

 

It's worth it to read the entire sample policy. There's a lot in there. For Pets Best to cover periodontal disease, I need to have Percy's teeth cleaned first and show there's nothing wrong. I don't think Healthy Paws covers periodontal disease at all.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Regarding the declawing example, when Violet had an emergency situation as a result of her dental (she started urinating blood clots and had to be transferred to the ER for care) Healthy Paws paid out in full on all of the emergency expenses. Some of the expenses were on the invoice as 2 of something, where 1 was from the dental and 1 was from the ER (she was already at a specialty facility for her dental, hence they were in the same place, but 2 different departments) and HP paid out based on the receptionist noting which were the ER expenses. They gave me absolutely no trouble with this. Dentals are not covered by HP - maybe they still consider issues that arise from it coverable because dentals are necessarily, not elective procedures like declawing, or maybe they've modified their policy, but I thought I'd mention it.

 

Also, HP used to allow you to upgrade your policy one time. Again, they may have changed that by now.

 

I don't know anything about Pets Best, though I think that may be who my boss has her dog covered through and she had no issues when the dog required shoulder surgery, but I am a HUGE fan of Healthy Paws. The most recent thing to be thrilled about - they covered an Assisi Loop for Violet. It is FDA approved, but it's a very new device, my vet had no idea what it was but did order it for me (we had been using one on loan from Violet's physical therapist, who has her own mobile practice). The device is $180 and has a limited number of uses. They covered it in full, no questions asked.


gallery_12662_3351_862.jpg

Jen, CPDT-KA with Zuri, lab in a greyhound suit, Violet, formerly known as Faith, Skye, the permanent puppy, Cisco, resident cat, and my baby girl Neyla, forever in my heart

"The great thing about science is that you're free to disagree with it, but you'll be wrong."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the information. I wonder if Pets Best would have covered the complication from a dental cleaning. Maybe I'll call them again and ask. i do think it's easier to get claims paid with HP--more streamlined and fewer hoops. Maybe Pets Best denies more claims, but rightfully denies them and that keeps costs down. I don't know. As I said, the bad reviews were mostly complaints that they wouldn't cover something that shouldn't be covered based on the policy. They have a separate wellness plan that just covers a fixed amount and there were complaints that it didn't cover 90%. Well, that's not how that part of the plan works. Or something was a preexisting condition--I think they may be pickier about that. They go back 18 months to see if something is preexisting. I do wonder what would happen with either company if he were found to have some issue that flared up due to an old racing injury. His vet check was fine, but you never know.

 

 

 

Also, HP used to allow you to upgrade your policy one time. Again, they may have changed that by now.

 

I do believe they've changed that. Here's what their sample policy says:

You may apply to lower your pet’s deductible level and/or decrease your pet’s coinsurance amount provided that
your pet has not previously filed a claim with us.

Edited by cgs

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The HP policy says this under exclusions:

 

Complications of conditions excluded or limited by this policy;
Dental health care is listed as an exclusion. So it seems like they wouldn't cover it, but they did.
Pets Best says this in its exclusion section:
Complications of or diagnostic tests, treatments, therapies, and/
or medications related to Conditions not covered or restricted by
this policy;
So it's basically the same. It sounds like HP is more lenient, though.
HP will cost me $49/mo for a $500 deductible and 90% coverage.
Pets Best will cost me exactly the same with for $500/90% which includes exam fees for accident/illness (not covered by HP) and alternative therapies (which HP also covers).
But I could also get a policy for $27/mo for $1000 and 90%, which would include exam fees (and alternative treatment). If I want to forego exam fees (which also means foregoing alternative treatments because that's only in the top plan while exam fees are in the middle plan), I could get a plan for only $22/mo or for 80% coverage I could get a plan for $18/mo. So you see my dilemma. We're pretty much of the mind that this should be catastrophic coverage and we can handle $1000 deductible. I wish HP offered that.
Edited by cgs

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So I looked at my policy and it says the same thing, but I guess I don't consider a dental a "condition", especially because dental care is specifically listed in the preventative care section. And they do exclude conditions that result from a lack of preventative care (failing to vaccinate, etc.) so it seems to make sense to me that they would cover what they did. Additionally we don't know what caused the issue, but we guess the anesthesia or stress from the procedure, which could happen with any procedure that requires sedation. And she already has a history (while covered and which they have paid out for) of stress induced rhabdomyolysis, which wasn't ruled out here, so for all of those reasons I don't think they were being lenient, I think they were covering things as my policy outlined.

 

The things that clearly aren't covered - exam/office visit fees, anxiety medication, special diets - they've always not reimbursed for.

 

 

ETA: Two thoughts on your decision making - I went back and forth on the deductible as well as the reimbursement amount because I wanted it for the same reason you did essentially; I didn't want to have to make medical decisions with serious illnesses/injuries based on finances. In the end I went for a slightly lower deductible (I decided on $250 instead of $500) because I figured Violet would likely rack up enough vet costs to cover that and then some, making up for the difference I was paying in premiums. I did the 80% rather than 90% to keep the premium lower. I'm not sure if I would have been better off with the higher ded and 90% or if it would be a wash or worse, it would be interesting to check. But Violet now has a disc issue (she's had it since she was 7 I think) that costs us so much money in PT and acupuncture and HP covers it all. So while it's not catastrophic in that sense that you're planning for, I couldn't afford all fo the care she's getting otherwise. With a $1K ded, I could probably work it out though, but I am pretty sure I've come out way ahead with what I've gotten reimbursed versus what I've put in to Violet's policy. Violet is also a lemon. :lol

 

With Skye, I probably should have picked a higher deductible. She's my mixed breed, who I got at 8 mo so she has a lot less ongoing health issues than Violet and I will be paying into her health care for a lot longer than some of my greyhounds. But at the time it was simplest to just sign her up for the same thing and not think about it. :P

 

I guess the bottom line is you don't really know how often your dog is going to need medical care and when they do, how expensive it will be so it's a bit of a crapshoot, you just have to do something you're comfortable with.

 

But I will say that exam fees can stack up, especially when dealing with something like cancer treatment where you have a lot of office visits and rechecks. And a single ER visit or specialist is easily $125 a pop here, though I've paid as much as $255 for a single consult! :o I tend to go to specialists rather than persisting with my primary vet more often than some people do, and we also find ourselves at an ER visit at least annually if not more often :riphair so for me, if I were comparing 2 policies that were similar in cost, that might be a major deciding factor. For someone who primarily sees their regular vet with a lower exam fee, maybe not so much.

 

The other consideration is how much predictability is important to you in your finances. If you prefer to have more of an idea of costs upfront so you can budget better, a known higher premium with lower "surprise" costs as illnesses pop up might make more sense.

 

Anyway, don't know what's best for you, just sharing some of my thought processes as I came to a decision. I honestly think no matter what you choose you'll be fine.

Edited by NeylasMom

gallery_12662_3351_862.jpg

Jen, CPDT-KA with Zuri, lab in a greyhound suit, Violet, formerly known as Faith, Skye, the permanent puppy, Cisco, resident cat, and my baby girl Neyla, forever in my heart

"The great thing about science is that you're free to disagree with it, but you'll be wrong."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Regarding exam fees, I just signed up for the wellness plan for my vet, which covers 4 non-well exam fees. But I had also thought about having to go to a specialist or ER where the exam fee wouldn't be covered. I'm not sure the wellness plan is worth it, but I'll get it for this year and see how it turns out.

 

I think what you're saying about dental care not counting as a condition makes sense, so I wonder if Pets Best would cover it. It's a treatment, not a condition and they also have language about how you have to take care of your dog. But if they did cover it, I bet it would be more of a hassle, which is probably a price I'm willing to pay for the cheaper rate.

 

My other dog is a shih-tzu/poodle mix and I think I've only ever taken her for an ear infection in 10 years. There may have been something else, but nothing I remember, so obviously nothing serious or expensive. I read that greyhounds are one of the healthier breeds, but of course if you read the forums here, you read about a lot of problems.

 

I'm not going to make any decision until I get his teeth cleaned. And his fecal sample came back positive for hookworks. Great. I'm hearing here how hard they are to treat. I'm assuming that once treated, that is not a preexisting condition. I guess it doesn't matter since these policies don't cover parasite treatment.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You may want to clarify the hookworm issue since you know about it. And let me just save you a lot of trouble. :P It seems hookworms are becoming resistant to the usual drugs of choice. So the newest recommendation seems to be to treat with Moxidectin (which is an ingredient in Advantage Multi) in addition to Panacur. There have been some threads recently. Bottom line, be aggressive with treatment and don't assume one negative fecal means the worms are actually gone.


gallery_12662_3351_862.jpg

Jen, CPDT-KA with Zuri, lab in a greyhound suit, Violet, formerly known as Faith, Skye, the permanent puppy, Cisco, resident cat, and my baby girl Neyla, forever in my heart

"The great thing about science is that you're free to disagree with it, but you'll be wrong."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks. I will talk to the vet about it. I had stopped by to sign up for the wellness plan and asked for the fecal results. They told me hookworm, but the vet isn't working today so she'll call me tomorrow. And now I probably need to bring in a sample of Lulu's poo to check her.


Oh and he was just dewormed 3 weeks ago, but I don't know with what. Maybe I'll call and find out. I think it was the rescue that gave the medication.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The rescue lady responded and said he was treated with praziquantel (Biltricide) & ivermectin. I haven't heard Biltricide mentioned anywhere.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wonder if it is possible for the mods to split this thread in two - the Hookworm discussion might interest people (including me) independent of insurance.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One very important thing to check on Pets Best - if a condition is diagnosed in this plan year, when the plan renews next year will that condition then be considered a pre-existing condition in the new plan year? Pets First did that. Carl was diagnosed as hypothyroid and they paid for his diagnosis and treatment. When his plan renewed the next year they excluded anything to do with his hypothyroid diagnosis (his meds and annual blood work for example). That really pissed me off, so I switched to Trupanion, who raised my rates by 30+% before the second policy year rolled around (I hadn't even made any claims in the time I had them). So, I switched to Healthy Paws and have been with them ever since, probably for 7+ years now. HP does not excluded a condition diagnosed while they were covered by them in prior policy years. And, HP will pay for Bowie's treatment with the new osteo vaccine.


Sunsands Doodles: Doodles aka Claire, Bella Run Softly: Softy aka Bowie (the Diamond Dog)

Missing my beautiful boy Sunsands Carl 2.25.2003 - 4.1.2014

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's a good point and I remembered reading something about that in the policy, so I just went and looked. Pets Best has supplemental benefits. Their lowest plan doesn't cover exam fees, alternative treatments or rehab, or "take home" prescription meds. Not sure what that means vs "Rx meds" which are covered. I'll have to call and ask. Anyway, you can choose a higher plan that has that. If you decide to add supplemental coverage later, you are basically cancelling your policy and starting a new one, at which point preexisting conditions won't be treated. So as long as you don't do that, you're good.

 

The key I think is to read the policy carefully. People don't, and then they're mad when it's not what they expected.

 

What you're describing with Pet First is exactly how horse insurance works--all horse insurance. We have 2 horses.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Connie, that's nuts! As long as you are renewing your existing policy things shouldn't switch to being pre-existing. That's a dumbass plan. :lol


gallery_12662_3351_862.jpg

Jen, CPDT-KA with Zuri, lab in a greyhound suit, Violet, formerly known as Faith, Skye, the permanent puppy, Cisco, resident cat, and my baby girl Neyla, forever in my heart

"The great thing about science is that you're free to disagree with it, but you'll be wrong."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Connie, that's nuts! As long as you are renewing your existing policy things shouldn't switch to being pre-existing. That's a dumbass plan. :lol

 

I was incredulous when they told me that. They had denied the claim for Carl's meds, so I called them and that is exactly what they did. Insane in the membrane! I don't think they are in business anymore. No wonder!

 

I learned the hard way, when I looked into Trupanion and Healthy Paws I made sure to ask about that!

Edited by seeh2o

Sunsands Doodles: Doodles aka Claire, Bella Run Softly: Softy aka Bowie (the Diamond Dog)

Missing my beautiful boy Sunsands Carl 2.25.2003 - 4.1.2014

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

But HP won't cover the thyroid stuff now because it was preexisting when you started with them right? That's what I'm worried about--finding the right company to begin with.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was told that because Kasey came to me with a skin-tear that if he ever had another one it wouldn't be covered. Thank you insurance policy. I cancelled and put the money into a monthly savings account and I haven't looked back.


Proudly owned by:
10 year old "Ryder" CR Redman Gotcha May 2010
12.5 year old Angel "Kasey" Goodbye Kasey Gotcha July 2005-Aug 1, 2015

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was told that because Kasey came to me with a skin-tear that if he ever had another one it wouldn't be covered. Thank you insurance policy. I cancelled and put the money into a monthly savings account and I haven't looked back.

Holy cow! Which insurance was this?


Sunsands Doodles: Doodles aka Claire, Bella Run Softly: Softy aka Bowie (the Diamond Dog)

Missing my beautiful boy Sunsands Carl 2.25.2003 - 4.1.2014

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...