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Pet Insurance Comparison

VIEWS: 55 PAGES: 7

									                        Pet Insurance Comparison
Pet insurance is not for everyone. BUT, when you closely look at the plan that I recommend after
considerable investigation, and when you page down to the end of this study and see what kind of
illnesses that pets commonly are afflicted with, then insurance may make a lot of sense.

When considering whether or not you should purchase pet insurance, I have extensively compared
three major companies, and have also looked at current 2009 fees to determine the approximate yearly
costs, based on a per month average:.

The following 5 options cover most options: #1 and #2 below are the typical costs incurred for a year
when caring for a dog or cat and giving them Basic or Optimum Wellness Care annually.
Option #3 shows the approximate annual costs on a monthly basis when you take out PetsBest
Insurance with the Wellness Care Option that reimburses you for Basic Wellness Costs.
Option #4 is the same as #3, except you are being reimbursed for most of the Optimum Wellness
Costs.
Option #5 shows what insurance would cost per month for just illness or injury, without any
reimbursement for wellness care. To compare to the other options, you would have to add either #1 or
#2 to the annual cost of this major medical coverage.

Options for Pet Care: Annual Out of Pocket Pet Care Expenses, based on puppies or kittens
through 13 yr olds

      1. Basic Pet Wellness Care, no insurance
                  Dog: $192-240/yr ($16-20/month) Cat: $84-96 ($7-8/month) (inside vs outside
                  cats)

      2. Optimum Pet Wellness Care, no insurance
                Dog: $468-504 ($39-42/month) Cat: $360-408 ($30-34/month) (inside vs
                outside cats)

      3. Insurance with Basic Pet Wellness Care (includes reimbursements)
                  Dog: $50-59/month       Cat: $35-46/month (inside vs outside cats)

      4. Insurance with Optimum Pet Wellness Care (includes reimbursements)
                  Dog $56-64/month       Cat: $40-53/month (inside vs outside cats)

      5. Insurance for illness and injury only (no reimbursement for Wellness Care)
                  Dog: $22-28/month          Cat: $13-23/month

The following descriptions show what is included in Basic and Optimum Pet Wellness per year.

Basic Annual Dog Wellness Care includes:
      Annual total physical examination (Blood pressure, Heart rhythm, Videoscopy of ears, auscultation
      of heart and lungs, eye panopthalmic exam, dental evaluation, mouth, skin, abdominal palpation, body
      score evaluation)
      Vaccinations for Rabies, Distemper, Hepatitis, Lepto, Parvo, Coronavirus, Flu
      Heartworm ELISA blood test
      Fecal parasite evaluation by centrifugation
      12 months of heartworm protection
Optimum Annual Dog Wellness Care includes:
     All of the above PLUS
     Kennel Cough Vaccination
     Lyme Vaccination
     A Blood Chemistry test (liver, kidney, pancreas, gall bladder, diabetes, adrenal gland, cholesterol,
     hydration screening)
     Dental ultrasonic teeth cleaning
     Urinalysis (screening for early kidney disease)
     6 months flea prevention (Sentinel in summer besides Iverhart in winter)

Minimum Annual Cat Wellness Care includes:
       Annual total physical examination (Blood pressure, Heart rhythm, Videoscopy of ears, auscultation
      of heart and lungs, eye panopthalmic exam, dental evaluation, mouth, skin, abdominal palpation, body
      score evaluation)
      Vaccinations for Rabies, Leukemia, Rhinotracheitis, Two strains of Calicivirus
      Fecal parasite evaluation by centrifugation

Optimum Annual Cat Wellness Care includes:
     All of the above PLUS
     Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (AIDS) and FIP vaccination if they go outside
     A Blood Chemistry test (liver, kidney, pancreas, gall bladder, diabetes, adrenal gland, cholesterol,
     hydration screening)
     Dental ultrasonic teeth cleaning
     Urinalysis (screening for early kidney disease)
     Feline Heartworm test
     12 months Heartworm prevention


The major advantage of carrying pet insurance comes in the early middle and late
ages of the pet. You are reimbursed 100% annual blood testing screenings and 85%
dental cleanings. You are reimbursed 80% after your deductible for illnesses or
accidents making caring for them financially a possibility that otherwise may spell
the premature end of your beloved pet’s life.

MY Recommendation: If you want pet insurance, I recommend PetsBest Insurance.
The following explains why. Also, if you enroll through my website you receive an
automatic 5% discount!
3 Pet Insurance Comparisons:

Premiums are based on an 8 month old and 13yr old range as of April 2009 for major medical and annual
pet wellness care; MVVC fees with no insurance is the approximate annual value of wellness care.


Pets Best           Purina Care                  VPI
Premiums
Dog:
$44.50-49.50/mo     $46.55-83.00/mo             $42.50-54.85/mo
Cat:
$35.40-43.05/mo     $15.21-45.00/mo             $36.70-44.80/mo


Total annual out of pocket including premiums, Optimum annual wellness reimbursements, and
costs not covered by insurance:                                     Annual Wellness Care
                                                                     with no insurance
Dog:                                                                 Optimum             Minimum
$669-769/yr         $852-1725/yr                $785-972/yr          $470-509/yr         $195-234/yr
$56-64/mo           $71-144/mo                  $65-81/mo            $39-42/mo           $16-20/mo
Cat:
$478-568/yr         $456-823/yr                 $624-763/yr          $364-404/yr         $87/yr
$10-19/mo           $38-69/mo                   $52-63/mo            $30-34/mo           $7.25/mo




Net cost of insurance per month after reimbursements for Optimum Annual Wellness compared
to no insurance: (8mos-13yr olds):

Pets Best            Purina Care                  VPI
Dog:
$17-22/mo           $34-104/mo                  $28-41/mo

Basic Annual Health care with no insurance: $18-22/mo
Thus if you choose Pets Best Insurance, by an additional insurance investment per month that is about
equal to basic health care, you receive Optimum health care AND Major Medical coverage!

Cat:
$10-15/mo            $8-35/mo                   $22-29/mo
Basic Annual Health care with no insurance: $7-8.00/mo
Thus if you choose Pets Best Insurance, by an additional investment of just a few dollars per month more
than what you would spend for minimum care per month, you receive Optimum health care AND Major
Medical coverage!


The above costs represent what you additionally would pay out of pocket for insurance after
being reimbursed for Optimum Wellness Care, and gives you peace of mind of being able to
afford illness or accidents in which you would be reimbursed 80% of costs after your deductible.
Cost of insurance for just illness or injury per month (8mos-13yr old):

Pets Best             Purina Care                  VPI
Dog:
$22-28/mo            $38-112/mo                  $21-60+/mo (won’t enroll new pets >10yr old)
Cat:
$13-23/mo            $13-45/mo                   $14-39+/mo (won’t enroll new pets >10yr old)

By comparing the above two scenarios of NET costs of insurance with reimbursements of wellness
care and without, you can see that your actual cost of illness or injury insurance is less if you get
the wellness add-on and use it to reimburse for optimum care.

Purina Care for cats may actually come out better in early years, because Purina has a straight
$250 deductible, which the Optimum annual wellness will cover, after which there is a straight
80% reimbursed of all illness or injury.

PetsBest has a $100 deductible per incident after which 80% is reimbursed

VPI has a $50 per incident, but has maximum benefits that it will reimburse for every
conceivable incident. Additionally they do not enroll pets over 10 years old for the 1st time.

PetsBest does not astronomically increase premiums with age as the other two do.

Examples of illnesses or accidents that insurance will reimburse 80% after
deductibles are met:

Typical Ear Infection Up to $150

Videoscopy with printed pictures showing you the inside of the ear, Cytology to determine type of
infection to treat it properly, Examination, Medicine, and Progress exam


Typical Inhalation Allergy Up to $139 for initial exam and treatment; Up to $229 for
allergy testing; Ongoing yearly treatment costs of $100-690 depending on treatment chosen

Examination, IV steroids, Oral steroids initially and nutritional supplements; Allergy testing to determine
the allergic causes; Ongoing treatments ranging from inexpensive steroids to safer cyoclosporin or
hyposensitivity injections.


Cat Hemobartonella Up to $187

It is estimated that up to 35% of cats are infected with this organism (compared to 1-2% for leukemia or
FIV). Infection is often acquired at birth or from flea bites. It can be transmitted to people. Many cats
have been diagnosed when significant gingivitis is the only sign seen at an annual examination. A test has
to be sent away and the typical treatment can be as high as $90 for a large cat, but is usually successful.
Typical Dog Arthritis Up to $129 for initial exam and xrays; Up to $170 for initial
treatments and $255-400 for annual treatment costs to slow progression; up to $180-550 annual
costs for pain relief if needed.

The most common sign seen in a dog is getting up slower after lying down for a period of time. This is
when we need to intervene to catch it early. Many owners just think this is a sign of slowing down with
age. We often ask your dog if he or she hurts by doing a 7 day pain treatment trial. If a significant
change is seen, we know that your dog is in pain. The earlier it is detected the better we can institute
arthritis modifying treatments to delay having to use pain killers as is needed in advanced cases.


Typical Cat Arthritis Up to $129 for initial exam and xrays; Up to 330 annually in arthritis
modifying treatments and pain control.

Often we are alerted to an older cat having arthritis because he or she no longer uses the litter box or
does not jump up on your lap or the window sill. It is not due to age, but usually due to arthritis.


Typical Diabetes Up to $120 for initial diagnosis; Up to $144-200 annually in insulin; Up to
$150 in annual testing to monitor dosing.
Diabetes is often diagnosed in the overweight pet that suddenly loses weight and has urine accidents in
the house due to drinking too much water. It can usually be easily controlled just as in people, but it takes
dedication and has a cost to it.



Typical Anterior Cruciate Tear Up to $900; up to $2500 at a specialist

Quite often a dog suddenly pulls up lame in a rear leg, after jumping off a couch, bed or deck. The knee
ligament that a lot of athletes tear is the same one injured here. Surgery often can give back a normal
functioning knee, but at a cost.



Typical Cushing’s Syndrome (Hyperadrenalcortism) Up to $196 for initial diagnosis,
then $144-200 for annual treatment and $200-300 for annual monitoring tests

Seen in dogs, this is often picked up early by changes seen in one of the enzyme tests in an annual blood
chemistry screening. If signs of increased drinking and urinating; or increased appetite; or pot belly; or
thin hair coat; or a lot of panting is seen, then specific tests can rule this type of cancer in or out. It is
treatable, and we have had dogs live up to 4 years after diagnosis.


Typical Cat Hyperthyroidism Up to $190 for initial diagnosis; Annual costs of $132-500
for treatment

This is actually cancer of the thyroid gland and results in a cat that loses weight suddenly even though its
appetite is ravenous. More expensive treatments involve radiation therapy which is very successful but
very expensive. With insurance it is affordable, otherwise twice daily medicine for the rest of the cat’s
life is needed.
Typical Car Accident and Fractured Leg Up to $750; $3000 at a specialist

Depending on where and how bad the fracture is, and if shock stabilization is needed.


Typical Kidney Disease Up to $150 for diagnosis; and up to $300 annual costs for
treatments to lower phosphorus and nitrogen buildup. Prescription food is not covered by any
insurance.
A condition common in older dogs and cats. If the annual blood screen and urinalysis is done (covered
entirely by insurance each year), we can detect kidney disease early and be able to extend your pet’s life
by simply changing to a prescription diet. As it ultimately progresses, then supplement treatments are
available to ease the debilitation that kidney failure brings with it. If annual tests are not done, the first
signs usually seen are increased drinking and urinating with a significant weight loss.


Typical Lump Removal Up to $196 and $56 for histopath analysis to the lab.




And the list goes on:
High Blood Pressure;
Congestive Heart Failure;
All kinds of Skin Problems;
Gastro-intestinal disorders;
and the list goes on ………………..

Major Differences between Pets Best, Purina Care, and VPI
Insurance:

Pets Best:

       -   has the least amount of price increase for premiums with as pets age
       -   has the best premium cost for dogs in the comparison in this document
       -   has no benefit schedule, which limits illness and accident incident coverage
       -   is underwritten by the same insurance company that underwrites veterinary human
           medical coverage (Aetna)
       -   offers coverage for Behavioral conditions, hereditary conditions if pet is enrolled prior
           to two years of age and does not show signs yet, certain breed pregnancies, mortality
           (cremation with ashes returned), and alternative care (holistic, acupuncture) coverage
           with coverage limits for each of the above.
       -   5% discount of premiums (reflected in the comparison) if enrolled through a qualified
           veterinary website
       -   No age limits (some insurance companies will not re-enroll aged pets)
       -   Prompt reimbursements (Claim processed within 10 business days and check sent within
           5 business days)
      -   Lifetime Continuous Coverage (meaning that if a chronic condition occurs, they continue
          to cover it with 80/20 coverage and no additional deductible for that condition) AND
          they will guarantee renewal. Some companies will drop your pet if a chronic condition
          occurs when renewal time comes.
      -   Deductible is applied to each incident (illness or accident) and satisfies that incident
          for as long as it is treated.

Purina Care:

      -   Has the highest premium increase as the pet ages for dogs and cats
      -   Does not exclude hereditary conditions as long as no pre-existing condition shows at
          time of enrollment.
      -   Does not use a benefit schedule.
      -   Has higher annual claim limits ($20,000) for the plans compared in this document
      -   Annual care includes 12 months of heartworm prevention and 12 months of flea
          treatment
      -   Includes micro-chipping implants
      -   Has a higher deductible ($250) than the others compared to (Pets Best $100 per
          incident and VPI $50 per incident), but this deductible if for the whole year, not per
          incident



VPI

      -   has the highest cat premiums in the comparison done in this document
      -   has benefit schedules for each and every incident that is hard to understand and limits
          your coverage after the deductible is met
      -   has the lowest deductible ($50) per incident
      -   has the least reimbursement for flea treatment and heartworm prevention
      -   has the least reimbursement for annual wellness care


My recommendation based on the comparison study as of
April 2009:

Dogs: Pets Best Insurance with Wellness Coverage

Cats: Pets Best Insurance with Wellness Coverage

								
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