Paying for Pet Healthcare
For many, their pets are as important to them as any member of the family. Much like those other family members, however, an owner must take into account the health costs for their pet. While self-insurance is a viable option for many pet owners, pet care, nevertheless, can involve unexpectedly high bills that many families are not willing or able to absorb.
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Paying for Pet Healthcare
For many, their pets are as important to them as any member of the family. After all, pet owners showed real concern on their pets’ emotional wellness when preparing for a return to the office post-COVID as their furry friends were used to their humans being present and providing unlimited scratches and rubs.
Much like those other family members, however, an owner must take into account the health costs for their pet. Health care costs for pets can average anywhere from $900 to $2,600 per year, depending upon the age and health of your pet dog. For cats, the number is considerably lower—about $130 to under $400 annually.1
Similar to health care for ourselves, there are three basic ways to meet your pet’s health care expenses:
- Self-insurance (i.e., pay for them out-of-pocket)
- Enroll in a monthly subscription plan that covers wellness check-ups and limited services (e.g., tests, wound repair, EKG, etc.)
- A comprehensive health insurance plan with associated deductibles and co-payments
While self-insurance is a viable option for many pet owners, pet care, nevertheless, can involve unexpectedly high bills that many families are not willing or able to absorb.
One approach for managing the health care costs for your pet is through a pet wellness program, which generally covers your pet’s preventive and routine care (e.g., shots, annual check-ups, spaying or neutering).
A pet wellness program typically charges a monthly premium to cover annual wellness costs, up to some defined maximum level. These programs will often offer different levels of coverage so you can choose a plan that’s most suitable to your needs and pocketbook.
The cost of a basic wellness program may range from $10 to over $50 per month.
Purchasing pet insurance is an increasingly popular option for pet owners. As of last year, for instance, 4.4 million pets were insured in North America, an increase of almost 28% from 2021.2
Pet insurance will generally cover accidents, illnesses, dental diseases, hereditary conditions and behavioral issues. Pet wellness care is not generally covered, but instead offered as a policy rider at additional cost.
As with any health insurance, pet insurance is available with varying levels of coverage and coverage maximums.
Choosing Between Insurance and Wellness Plans
Purchasing pet insurance may be most appropriate for protecting against high vet bills that may arise from an accident, injury or illness. It will absorb the financial impact of such events and keep you from having to potentially choose between the life and death of your pet based on finances. Pet insurance may be especially valuable if you have a breed that has high medical risks.
A pet wellness program may be the better choice if your dog requires regular vet visits, grooming and teeth cleaning, and is in good health and of a younger age.
Because these policies tend to cover (and not cover) different health care issues, it may make sense, if you can afford it, to consider combining both approaches.
Each individual and family will have a different scenarios and needs. One thing that is probably consistent for all pet owners, however, is the desire to keep their fur babies safe and healthy … returning the favor as data shows proven health benefits to us, particularly seniors and special needs individuals, when owning a pet.3
Please reference disclosures at: https://blog.americanportfolios.com/disclosures/