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My Dog Has Better Health Insurance Than I Do

NickJan 31, 2017


Can you imagine a situation where your pet has better health insurance coverage than yourself? It’s not that far fetched of a scenario.

If the current administration makes good on its plan to fully repeal Obamacare, a program that so far expects to cover a total of 11.4 million people in 2017, and doesn’t provide an at least equally comprehensive replacement plan, that’s precisely what can happen. Your furry little friend can be in a much better healthcare situation.

In the last few years, pet insurance has been gaining in popularity due to the fact many companies are providing much more comprehensive plans at much more affordable price points. There was a time that the only plans available worked on frustrating benefit schedules, which put dollar caps on a per-condition, or annual basis. With these plans, it was not uncommon for pet insurers to cover very small percentages of your vet bill. For example $800 of the $5,500 it cost for total hip replacement.

It’s understandable that the whole industry was looked on with suspicion.

Nowadays, there are multiple plans the have no caps, no monetary limits at all, no benefit schedule, that pay up to 90% of the dollar amount of your actual vet bill.

2 Scenarios

Buddy the Dog

Buddy is an excitable, 2-year-old Pomeranian who spends a lot of time in the backyard.  Unfortunately for Buddy, so do a lot of the neighborhood kids. When Buddy swallowed a plastic Pokémon toy left under a tree his owner rushed the gasping little guy to the emergency vet, the doctor informed him Buddy needed gastrointestinal surgery to the tune of $3,250.

The owner, who didn’t have the extra cash, decided to go ahead with the operation and put it on a credit card, thus going into debt to save Buddy’s life.

Had Buddy been covered by Healthy Paws, the policy would have paid $2757 of the bill factoring in a $100 deductible. What’s more, Buddy’s owner would be covered anywhere in the US and Canada, and could use any licensed vet or emergency hospital.

Conversely, an uninsured human being who swallows a foreign body which fails to pass and becomes lodged somewhere in the gastrointestinal system is looking at a tab anywhere from $1,500 to $10,000.

Buddy’s owner, who is currently covered by the Affordable Care Act, purchased the Healthy Paws plan after the above experience. Should he lose his personal health coverage this year, Buddy will be the most comprehensively covered member of the family!

Fuzzy the Cat

Diagnosing health problems in cats is tricky because they notoriously hide disease very well. External lumps and bumps, as well as a change in the coat texture are easy enough to spot, but often the owner has nothing more to go on than a perceived change in behavior.

Fuzzy was unusually jovial for a cat. He liked to play with children and seemed to retain some of his kitten-like qualities as he grew to adulthood. But he began to change around the time he turned six. His owner noticed that he gradually began not eating as much and seemed lethargic. This persisted for a few weeks until one day Fuzzy flat out refused to eat.

Obviously concerned, Fuzzy’s owner debated all day whether or not to take Fuzzy to the emergency vet or wait until Monday morning when his normal vet was open. Around mid afternoon, when Fuzzy began wheezing, the decision was made for him.

At the hospital the vet ordered blood work and then a biopsy. Fuzzy was diagnosed with adenocarcinoma, a type of cancer that can affect the lungs and stomach. He had a rapidly growing tumor in his small intestine that would require immediate and costly surgery.

The tab for the procedure, plus the tests already administered, came to $8,600.

Luckily, Fuzzy’s owner had purchased a Healthy Paws policy the year before. After the surgery he submitted the claim electronically with the company’s mobile app and received a speedy reimbursement of  $7415. No limits on coverage amounts or condition caps means you don’t have to worry about even the most costly procedures and can have access to the most advanced treatments.

Had Fuzzy been a human being in a similar scenario, with no health insurance under the ACA, the out of pocket expense would have been staggering and well outside of the range of the average American.

So while we wait to see what exactly happens to the Affordable Care Act, and what, if anything, it will be replaced by, you might want to take a look into protecting your furry friend. Pet insurance premiums are nowhere near human health insurance premiums. Policies average between $20-$50/month depending on your location, and the deductible/coverage percentage selected.

Our advertising partner Healthy Paws offers the above plans as well as many others you can customize to suit your pet and your particular situation.