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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello everyone! For a while now, I have been meaning to post about the importance of pet insurance, and how it much it has helped me with Bailey. As some of you may know, Bailey got very sick in January of this year. He had some severe symptoms which started off with loose stools but escalated quickly, within about a day (throwing up, very blood stools, not eating, pain) so I was petrified and had to rush him in to the vet. He had numerous tests done, including a blood panel, normal x-rays, barium x-rays, stool sample, a test for pancreatitis, etc. Everything led to his vet suspecting that he had ingested something and had a foreign object in his stomach. He had to be hospitalized overnight at an emergency clinic and was scheduled for an exploratory abdominal surgery the next day. Well, when they did the surgery, they did not find any foreign objects in there – either he had passed it by then or it had been something else that had caused him to be so sick. So unfortunately, we did not get any answers. For about a week after that, he was still very sick – he wouldn’t eat anything and even when I got him to eat/drink something, he would throw up. He couldn’t even keep down his pills. He had to be kept at the vets office all day for about 3 days after surgery so they could monitor him, give him his medications by injection, keep him on fluids, etc. He got better slowly after about a week. We never did figure out what exactly caused him to get so sick. And although I still question if I did the right thing by rushing in to surgery, I did what I thought was best at the time, based on the vet’s recommendation.

As you can imagine, this was an extremely expensive ordeal for us. Between all the tests, the surgery, the overnight stay at the emergency clinic, all-day hospitalization, medications, etc, I paid about $3,500. Luckily, I had pet insurance! When I first adopted Bailey, I wanted to make sure that if there was ever an emergency, I would be able to pay huge vet bills – so getting pet insurance was one of the first things I did after Bailey came home. I got the basic PetPlan insurance which covers, I believe, 80% of your costs up to $8,000 a year. It cost about $12 a month when I first signed up (it’s a bit higher for Maltese – Bailey is a mixed breed pup). After I submitted my claim and PetPlan sent me my reimbursement, this whole ordeal ended up costing me only about $500. That is a HUGE difference from approximately $3,500! (I don’t remember the specific amounts though)

I am so extremely thankful that I had pet insurance at the time that Bailey needed urgent vet care. When I was trying to decide whether to do the exploratory surgery, the vet told me about other cases she’s had in which she had suspected a foreign body blockage but the owners did not have money to do surgery (or even do the appropriate tests, in some cases) so the dogs ended up getting worse and worse – and by the time the owners did decide to move forward with surgery, the foreign object had done so much damage to the intestines, that it required extremely complicated and risky surgery to save their lives. In some cases, the dog didn’t make it. That scared me. Even though I knew that we did not have a definite diagnosis in Bailey’s case, and that this was just an exploratory surgery that could turn up nothing (which it did!), I decided not to take any chances. That decision was easier to make because I knew I would be covered financially, for the astronomical costs of the surgery. Had it turned out to be a blockage and I had elected not to do the surgery because of financial reasons, I never would be able to live with it.

I wanted to share this story with others in order to convey how important it is to have pet insurance or some other in-case-of-emergency plan to account for large, unexpected vet bills. Of course, there are some who can afford to pay thousands of dollars in the event of an emergency and they might feel that insurance is not necessary – I am not one of those people. While I will do anything and everything for my dog to make sure he gets the vet care he needs – it would be hard for me to come up with thousands of dollars at such short notice. Having pet insurance gives me the peace-of-mind and comfort of knowing that I can provide for any kind of vet care Bailey may need in the future – whether that’s an emergency or an illness. This will be especially important as he gets older. I never want to be in a position where I have to decline medical care for Bailey because I can’t afford it.

So – for all the new pet owners out there, please, please consider either getting pet insurance OR making arrangements otherwise so you are prepared to deal with any unexpected medical costs (a separate savings account or credit card, etc). It can make the difference between life and death for your pet. You might not think your young, healthy pet will ever have a need for costly vet care but it’s a good idea to be prepared, just in case! Also, if you decide to get pet insurance, it’s best to do so when your pet is young and healthy – your rates will be lower and you won’t have to worry about any pre-existing conditions not being covered.

I am sharing this story in hopes that it will help someone. I hope that other members who have pet insurance will share their experiences here as well. You can always PM me if you want any further information.

Thanks for reading this LONG post!
 

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I am overseas but still interested in what plans people prefer & why so this is a GREAT thread Nida. I may try to insure Kitzi for care in the US when I am state-side. So come on folks who have insurance, which company, why, costs per year, what it covers & to which percent?
Thanks!
 

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Nida - So glad you posted this after seeing that a lot of newbies and oldies lately have faced costly medical procedures. I feel absolutely the same way. I got PetPlan shortly after I got Tyler. I thought of it more for catastrophic instances. My plan doesn't include wellness visits which is fine. Those normal visits are usually around $100-$200 a year. What I worried about it something that could cost thousands and also worrying that I can't give Tyler any care he needs because it costs too much.

Well, last year as some of you know, I left town for CA and my DH was putting Tyler down off the couch when he leapt out of his hands. He called me to say that Tyler "landed kind of funny" :w00t: and that he was limping. I told him to wait until the next morning and he was still limping so he took him to the vet. They ran x-rays and luckily nothing was broken. But this was one of those unforeseen cases where in the blink of an eye you start running up expenses. It cost somewhere around $350. So I got back about $130 from that one visit.

I picked Pet Plan because they don't exclude hereditary health issues like the other plans, that are common to your breed. I have a $20,000 annual max policy with a $200 deductible per illness or injury (if you go back about the same condition it's a zero deductible) and I think a 20% co-pay. It also has advertising and reward $, vacation cancellation of $1000 if you can't go away because your pet is ill, theft or lost pet $ and $1000 death payment if you dog dies from injury or illness. I pay about $300 a year but they have all kinds of variables in what you can set up and you can even change your policy. They were prompt and you can always get someone on the phone. If anyone wants anymore info you can PM me.

I just feel like I would never let my skin child or myself go without insurance, why would I let my pet? The old days of low tech pet care is gone - our pets have procedures similar to our own with diagnostics and hi tech surgery and the costs are very high.

Hope this helps so that you don't have to decide if your fluff can get a procedure or not, just because of finances.
 

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Nida -- thanks for posting this. I did NOT have pet insurance when Tilly got HGE and had a $1,500 overnight stay at the ER clinic. This was about 3 1/2 years ago.

Right after that I found that the company that I work for offers VIP Pet Insurance as a benefit. Employees not only receive a 20% cost reduction on the insurance, but we also can opt to have the monthly premiums come out of our paychecks (which is what I do). It seems painless because it's just another deduction from my check.

Secret's teeth extraction was a pre-existing condition, however, everything else is covered for all 3 girls (no other pre-existings). I use it for their annual vet visits, heartworm tests, vaccinations, heartworm meds, dentals, etc.

But primarily I have it for peace of mind for catastrophic expenses that might come up. I would never want to decide about treatment for my babies based on expense.

I use VIP because of the ease I have due to my company, however, I have reviewed a number of plans and pet insurance continues to get better and better. There are several good ones to consider that, imho, aren't all that expensive.

I probably do a littler better than "break even" between the premiums I pay and the annual items that the insurance covers, however, should anything major happen, the insurance would be a lifesaver!!!

I would also encourage new pet owners to check out the plans that are now available. Even AKC has a good plan.

Nida -- thanks for the reminder.
 

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So glad to see this thread! After reading this I enrolled in Pet Plan. It is not expensive and gives you peace of mind should anything major happen. We have been lucky with Buddy so far, but you never know what might happen. It's good to have the recommendation of this company, knowing that it actually does pay off and is not a rip off or a scam. We love Buddy so much that I guess we would sell our home if we had to pay for thousands of dollars in Vet bills, but it's good to know that we would not have to do that. Thanks so much for posting this thread!
 

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I could not agree with you more! As you know my Lola has GME. AKC Petplan has paid about $5000.00 just to the GME claims thus far. I simply would not have been able to afford to treat her without the insurance. Simple as that. She is doing well for now. They continue to pay for her meds, and have covered her yearly blood panel, flea protection, teeth cleaning and all the other little things. I have policies on all three of mine. Is it costly? Not nearly as costly as one big event! I never want to deny my dog good medical care in the event of and illness or injury! I know some here say that they put aside an amount of money for vet care if they need it. That is fine, but you better be able to come up with at least $3000 - $5000 per pet. Vet care today is nearly as costly as human care.
 

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Pammy, is the AKC Petplan different than just Pet Plan? The reason I ask is that from what I read online they don't cover routine dentals, only extractions and root canals and such. Also, do they really pay for the flea protection? That would be great!
 

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Pammy, is the AKC Petplan different than just Pet Plan? The reason I ask is that from what I read online they don't cover routine dentals, only extractions and root canals and such. Also, do they really pay for the flea protection? That would be great!
Detailed Plan Comparison - AKC Pet Healthcare Plan

Check the two prevention plans. They cover dental, flea, titre testing and more.
 

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I could not agree with you more! As you know my Lola has GME. AKC Petplan has paid about $5000.00 just to the GME claims thus far. I simply would not have been able to afford to treat her without the insurance. Simple as that. She is doing well for now. They continue to pay for her meds, and have covered her yearly blood panel, flea protection, teeth cleaning and all the other little things. I have policies on all three of mine. Is it costly? Not nearly as costly as one big event! I never want to deny my dog good medical care in the event of and illness or injury! I know some here say that they put aside an amount of money for vet care if they need it. That is fine, but you better be able to come up with at least $3000 - $5000 per pet. Vet care today is nearly as costly as human care.
Pam - it's interesting that AKC covers the GME thankfully. I was just looking at the link you sent and clicked on what is NOT covered and here's what they have:
What's Not Covered

Pre-existing conditions are always excluded. We define Pre-existing conditions as any disease, illness or injury which occurred or existed prior to the original effective date of the policy
Illness that occurs or shows symptoms during the first 30 days of your policy unless you have continuous coverage with us
Diagnostic test(s) and treatment(s) for conditions excluded or limited by this policy and complications of conditions excluded or limited by this policy
ACL are considered bilateral conditions; one covered per life of the dog
Elective treatment, including but not limited to: vaccine titers, cosmetic dentistry, docking of tails, cropping of ears, microchips, removal of dewclaws, removal of eyelashes, declawing, or tenectomy that you choose to carry out that is not directly related to a current covered illness or injury.
Breeding your pet, pregnancy, and any treatment in connection with pregnancy or giving birth
Grooming and nail clipping
Conditions always excluded: congenital/inherited conditions; eye conditions including aberrant cilia, dermoid, distichiasis, entropion/ectropion; CDRM; chronic renal (kidney) failure; deciduous teeth; diabetes (insipidus or mellitus); elbow dysplasia (OCD, FCP,UAP); hemophilia; congenital heart problems including murmurs, failure, cardiomegaly (enlargement of the heart); hip dysplasia; congenital liver conditions; obesity (not due to an underlying medical condition); OCD (including but not limited to the hock, elbow, carpus and shoulder); osteoarthritis; congenital shunts to include portostymic shunt; elongated soft palate; stenotic nares; spondylosis; von Willebrand disease; luxating patella; and umbilical hernia
Food, vitamins and nutritional supplements
Alternative medicine including holistic, herbal, homeopathic, acupuncture or chiropractic treatments


I put in bold the liver conditions (I thought that's what GME is but I might be wrong) and also luxating patella which is very common for our guys and girls. That's why i didn't go for the AKC plan.

This is what PetPlan DOES cover:
Petplan policies provide reimbursement for all veterinary fees relating to treatment administered by a licensed veterinarian for any illness or injury (provided that it is not pre-existing), including the following:
Hospitalization - including emergency treatment
Diagnostic testing - such as MRIs, x-rays, endoscopy
Surgery - including cruciate ligament surgery and organ transplants but not spay/neuter
Cancer treatment - regardless of the type of cancer
Non-routine dental treatment - such as tooth extraction, root canal but not routine teeth cleaning
Prescription medications
Referral and specialist treatment
Alternative and complementary treatments - such as acupuncture, hydrotherapy or chiropractic treatment

Reimbursement is based on what your veterinarian actually charges. It is not based on what a benefit schedule dictates or a "usual or customary" fee determined by the insurance company.


I think anyone looking for insurance has to compare what works best for him or her but the main thing is to consider having insurance for those instances like Nida went thru with Bailey.
 

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Yup Susan, it does not cover quite a few "hereditary" conditions. But GME is not considered inhereted. And not too surprising that they don't cover pre exsistings. It is also not a liver condition, it is auto immune neurological encephalitis. But when the treatment for the GME put her into liver failure (temporarily thank goodness) it paid for all of the treatment. I also think everyone needs to do research and choose what works best for them. I do like the feature of titre testing, dentals, flea prevention.
 

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Yup Susan, it does not cover quite a few "hereditary" conditions. But GME is not considered inhereted. And not too surprising that they don't cover pre exsistings. It is also not a liver condition, it is auto immune neurological encephalitis. But when the treatment for the GME put her into liver failure (temporarily thank goodness) it paid for all of the treatment. I also think everyone needs to do research and choose what works best for them. I do like the feature of titre testing, dentals, flea prevention.
Thanks, Pam for the info. I get confused sometimes about GME and being an autoimmune disease, since it seems that some postings wondering if their pups had liver disease were told to check if it could be GME. I also didn't know it isn't a hereditary disease. I think we're both agreed about doing homework on all the plans.
 

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OK---you guys are encouraging me. . . I looked into Pet Plan & they have 3 programs w/various deductibles & percentage of reimbursements.
Question: is the deductible per calendar year or per service?
 

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OK---you guys are encouraging me. . . I looked into Pet Plan & they have 3 programs w/various deductibles & percentage of reimbursements.
Question: is the deductible per calendar year or per service?
The deductible is per illness/injury. So say if I go to the vet today for Tyler's tear staining there will be the deductible (and co-pay if you pick a plan with one) but then any subsequent visits about that condition - no deductible. It also depends on what plan you sign up for. I have the $200 deductible to keep my premium down and figuring it more as catastrophic insurance. Another thing is that it isn't like our people plans where the insurance company says "We allow $30 for that procedure" when the vet charges $100. Reimbursement is based on what you actually pay. You do have to pay upfront and be reimbursed.

None of the plans (I don't think anyone's plan) allows for pre-existing injuries or illnesses that took place before you have insurance. And you do have to send your vet records to them. BTW, my neighbor with the Havanese (BYB) signed up for insurance after I told her about it. Well that dog's needed it for everything...can't believe how many illnesses he's had - parasites, limping, allergies, severe bite abnormalities, etc and she keeps saying how happy she is with her coverage.

Is it international, Sandi?
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I am overseas but still interested in what plans people prefer & why so this is a GREAT thread Nida. I may try to insure Kitzi for care in the US when I am state-side. So come on folks who have insurance, which company, why, costs per year, what it covers & to which percent?
Thanks!
Sandy, I'm so glad you're considering insurance for Kitzi - I'm not sure what the policies are regarding overseas coverage though. You do have to send in extensive vet records and keep in mind, anything pre-existing won't be covered at all. Also there are some other exclusions - like I had read somewhere (but I'm not 100% sure), if a pet gets a disease that can be prevented by a routine vaccine which the owner had declined, then that disease won't be covered. And if Bailey had repeat incidents of eating bad stuff that has to be surgically removed, then at some point, that won't be covered either (I need to ask Pet Plan to confirm this though)

So if you're interested, just be sure to read the policy carefully so you know what you can expect to be covered and aren't caught off guard!!
 

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ok i NEED to get the ball rolling with this and get to it , but i am clueless as to what exactly should i be getting , so to all u knowledgable ppl pls help , i simply am clueless when it comes to things like this. so advice advice advice , and in english please lol
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Nida - So glad you posted this after seeing that a lot of newbies and oldies lately have faced costly medical procedures. I feel absolutely the same way. I got PetPlan shortly after I got Tyler. I thought of it more for catastrophic instances. My plan doesn't include wellness visits which is fine. Those normal visits are usually around $100-$200 a year. What I worried about it something that could cost thousands and also worrying that I can't give Tyler any care he needs because it costs too much.

Well, last year as some of you know, I left town for CA and my DH was putting Tyler down off the couch when he leapt out of his hands. He called me to say that Tyler "landed kind of funny" :w00t: and that he was limping. I told him to wait until the next morning and he was still limping so he took him to the vet. They ran x-rays and luckily nothing was broken. But this was one of those unforeseen cases where in the blink of an eye you start running up expenses. It cost somewhere around $350. So I got back about $130 from that one visit.

I picked Pet Plan because they don't exclude hereditary health issues like the other plans, that are common to your breed. I have a $20,000 annual max policy with a $200 deductible per illness or injury (if you go back about the same condition it's a zero deductible) and I think a 20% co-pay. It also has advertising and reward $, vacation cancellation of $1000 if you can't go away because your pet is ill, theft or lost pet $ and $1000 death payment if you dog dies from injury or illness. I pay about $300 a year but they have all kinds of variables in what you can set up and you can even change your policy. They were prompt and you can always get someone on the phone. If anyone wants anymore info you can PM me.

I just feel like I would never let my skin child or myself go without insurance, why would I let my pet? The old days of low tech pet care is gone - our pets have procedures similar to our own with diagnostics and hi tech surgery and the costs are very high.

Hope this helps so that you don't have to decide if your fluff can get a procedure or not, just because of finances.
Thanks Sue for sharing your experience with pet insurance. I do remember you saying it had helped so much when Tyler had his fall. I'm glad he was okay!!

I also chose Pet Plan for the same reasons you mentioned above. They didn't seem to have quite as many exclusions as other plans, and they were reasonably priced. For me, it was more important that I was covered in the event of an emergency - the cost of routine vet care, I can manage on my own. I just have the basic plan though - just $8,000 per year, 20% co-insurance and a $200 per incident deductible. I figured Bailey's young and healthy so that's all I needed for now - I do plan on increasing my coverage as he gets older though.

Nida -- thanks for posting this. I did NOT have pet insurance when Tilly got HGE and had a $1,500 overnight stay at the ER clinic. This was about 3 1/2 years ago.

Right after that I found that the company that I work for offers VIP Pet Insurance as a benefit. Employees not only receive a 20% cost reduction on the insurance, but we also can opt to have the monthly premiums come out of our paychecks (which is what I do). It seems painless because it's just another deduction from my check.

Secret's teeth extraction was a pre-existing condition, however, everything else is covered for all 3 girls (no other pre-existings). I use it for their annual vet visits, heartworm tests, vaccinations, heartworm meds, dentals, etc.

But primarily I have it for peace of mind for catastrophic expenses that might come up. I would never want to decide about treatment for my babies based on expense.

I use VIP because of the ease I have due to my company, however, I have reviewed a number of plans and pet insurance continues to get better and better. There are several good ones to consider that, imho, aren't all that expensive.

I probably do a littler better than "break even" between the premiums I pay and the annual items that the insurance covers, however, should anything major happen, the insurance would be a lifesaver!!!

I would also encourage new pet owners to check out the plans that are now available. Even AKC has a good plan.

Nida -- thanks for the reminder.
Thanks Lynn! Wow, I didn't know Tilly had HGE - that must have been so scary! Yeah, the emergency clinic here is EXTREMELY expensive as well. They monitored Bailey for one night before he had his surgery - he just needed fluids and some meds through IV - and that cost about $600 just by itself! If I ever needed to take Bailey in to the ER for an emergency that he had to get treatment for there, the cost could very easily be in the thousands.

I remember looking in to VPI as my employer offers a discount on it too - not nearly as much as yours though! I know it's a pretty popular plan too. I think I remember VPI only allotting certain $ amounts for each procedure, right? Like an X amount for blood panel, X amount for dentals...is that right? Vet care is VERY expensive in my area, much higher than in others, so I figured that wouldnt work for me. So I chose to go with PetPlan instead because I just wanted emergency coverage, and wanted a plan that would reimburse based on actual costs. I think VPI is pretty good though and I'm glad it's been working so well for your three!

So glad to see this thread! After reading this I enrolled in Pet Plan. It is not expensive and gives you peace of mind should anything major happen. We have been lucky with Buddy so far, but you never know what might happen. It's good to have the recommendation of this company, knowing that it actually does pay off and is not a rip off or a scam. We love Buddy so much that I guess we would sell our home if we had to pay for thousands of dollars in Vet bills, but it's good to know that we would not have to do that. Thanks so much for posting this thread!
Thanks for your post - I'm so glad we could help!!! I agree, the monthly cost is not that much - definitely worth the peace of mind!!! I think it's great you enrolled Buddy now, when he hasn't had any issues, because you don't have any pre-existing conditions to worry about!! And yes, I can definitely recommend Pet Plan because I've had a great experience with them - and they have very good customer service too!
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I could not agree with you more! As you know my Lola has GME. AKC Petplan has paid about $5000.00 just to the GME claims thus far. I simply would not have been able to afford to treat her without the insurance. Simple as that. She is doing well for now. They continue to pay for her meds, and have covered her yearly blood panel, flea protection, teeth cleaning and all the other little things. I have policies on all three of mine. Is it costly? Not nearly as costly as one big event! I never want to deny my dog good medical care in the event of and illness or injury! I know some here say that they put aside an amount of money for vet care if they need it. That is fine, but you better be able to come up with at least $3000 - $5000 per pet. Vet care today is nearly as costly as human care.
Pam, I do remember reading your posts about Lola's GME and how much your insurance had helped you with her medical costs - I was hoping you'd post and share your experience here! Thanks!! I've looked in to the AKC plan and I like the fact that it provides wellness coverage as well - including titers and flea prevention! When I signed Bailey up, I was more concerned about emergency costs so I chose PetPlan. At the time, I had Bailey enrolled in Banfield's wellness plan which covered all routine costs...well, I have cancelled that since then, so I'm on my own for his routine costs now. I figure I could plan for those...but I am intrigued by the AKC plan. For me, the monthly cost is a little high - the quote I got was $100+ vs the $18 I pay now with Pet Plan. But then again, I do like that it covers all routine costs...I think maybe for my next puppy, I might look in to this plan, since it covers spay/neuter as well. And dentals! The hereditary conditions not being covered would be an issue for me, since some of those can be the most costly to care for! I'm definitely interested enough that I'm going to keep looking in to the AKC plan further...Thanks!!!
 

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I need alittle help understanding the petplan... I read some of the excludes... and they exclude congential problems... so that includes MVD and a malformation like kodie has since it has existed since birth ??? I guess i'll never be able to get insurance for my little guy.. :(

and Kodie's meds are about $40 a month...

wait a sec... i was reading the ACK petplan... i'm gonna look at the pet plan i just googled... i hope its better than the last plan i read about...
 
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