Special to The Examiner
I had carpal tunnel surgery two weeks ago and my $1,000 out of pocket expense forced me to think about the rising cost of health insurance. My insurance premiums are a big part of my monthly budget; so are the monthly costs of food and medicine for our pets.
Our girls have been pretty healthy so far, but we don't know when an illness may strike. Health insurance is available for pets from several companies including the ASPCA. The costs vary and depend upon the amount of coverage one wants and the number of pets one has to cover. Deductibles can range from $100 to $500 annually and premiums can be as little as $12 per month, but that may not cover an accident or treatment for an unexpected illness. The more options one chooses, such as coverage for acupuncture and homeopathy the higher the premium will be. If you are considering getting health insurance for your pet be sure to shop around. Personally, I would check the company out through the Better Business Bureau. Pet insurance is still a new product and unless it is being underwritten by a reputable insurance company I would avoid it. I searched for pet insurance and found one plan that gave me a premium estimate of $32 month with $250 deductible for our 9-year-old Border Collie. A plan like this would only cover accidents and illnesses up to $3,000. This would not cover ongoing conditions, such as her monthly thyroid pills or Alprazolam for her stress during storms. Another plan cost up to $45 per month, but it didn't cover ongoing conditions, nor did it cover preventative care. Many of these plans are set up as reimbursement plans and can cover up to $7,000 in medical costs. This might be a good idea for a family with few expenses and only one or two pets. Those of us with many pets would have a hard time keeping up with these monthly premiums. Like humans, animals have a chance of developing just about any illness at any stage of their life, or they could live their entire life being healthy and happy. One just never knows. Personally, I would simply set funds aside for emergencies in lieu of paying for pet insurance. This way if you don't use the funds for health reasons, you will have them for something else. Some veterinarian offices will work with their clients to help them pay off large bills. If you're in doubt ask your veterinarian what he or she thinks about pet insurance. No one knows your pet and its medical history better than your veterinarian. Although no one can predict what the future will bring, advice on your pet's health is always best received from your veterinarian. Animals Best Friends wish list includes: Purina Dog, Puppy, Cat and Kitten chow, dog and cat treats and chews, cow hooves or rawhides, canned dog and cat food, stuffed (no beads) and Kong toys, laundry detergent, bleach, Fantastic spray, Dawn dish liquid, paper towels, newspapers, 39 gallon trash bags, blankets, sheets, cat litter. There is a paper recycling bin in the parking lot at ABF Headquarters, 2302 S. Crysler Ave., Independence. Please, no cardboard or telephone books. We appreciate your support.