Similar to medical insurance plans for people, medical insurance plans for pets offer a choice between plans that carry high monthly premiums in return for lower out-of-pocket expenses and deductibles, or those with higher deductibles and out-of-pocket requirements but lower monthly costs. In addition, most plans won't cover preexisting conditions and some will only cover the costs for treatment if the pet is taken to a veterinarian in the plan's network.
The oldest medical insurance provider for pets, Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI), was founded in 1980 in an effort to stop euthanasia that occurred when owners could not afford treatment for their pets, according to the company's website. Nationwide plans that cover dogs, cats, birds and exotic pets were made available to the consumer market in 1982. In 1997, the Hartville Group Inc. began to offer pet insurance policies. It is now the ASPCA's partner for providing ASPCA pet health insurance.
According to the Pets Best Insurance website, a good medical insurance plan for pets will cover illnesses, which can range from common ailments like allergies and stomach upset to more chronic illnesses, like cancer and diabetes. In addition, plans that offer coverage for accidents, like broken legs, and routine care, including annual exams, teeth cleaning and blood testing, typically offer the best return on investment.
It's best to invest in medical insurance when a pet is still young, because the premiums for older pets are often more expensive, and preexisting conditions most likely won't be covered. Also, certain breeds, particularly within the dog community, are more prone to developing chronic diseases and illnesses and may require higher deductibles based on the policy.
According to the ASPCA, some of the common misconceptions surrounding the animal medical insurance industry include the myth that pet insurance is extremely costly and it's complicated to use. However, the ASPCA coverage starts as low as $7.50 per month and after an annual $100 deductible the plan covers 80\% of reasonable costs.
The advances taking place every day in the field of veterinary medicine mirror those in the human medical field, allowing pets to live longer and happier lives. With your pet, as with you, when unexpected illness sets in, there are a variety of treatment options available. To help stem the cost of these treatments, pet owners can choose from a number of reputable medical insurance plans designed for their treasured pets.