With the Affordable Care Act (aka “Obamacare”) in the news so much lately, many of our clients have asked us about health insurance policies for their pets.

Many aspects of veterinary medicine are based on human medicine. So, it stands to reason that as human healthcare costs rise, pet healthcare costs will also rise.

We were recently contacted by the website reviews.com about research they did on comparing the prices and policies of pet health insurance companies. Their research team compiled a list of 22 pet insurance companies and selected the 12 best, based on factors including premiums, deductibles, co-pays, conditions covered, claims management, and other features.

As you can imagine, there was quite a bit of variation between companies based on all of the features offered. There was also quite a bit of variation within companies on the types of policies offered. But here are a few points for you to consider when evaluating whether or not pet health insurance is worth the cost:

  • Do the math: If the amount you would spend in premiums for “Wellness Care” is more than you would actually spend at the vet’s, then that policy may not be worth your investment. You may want to look at a “major medical” policy instead.
  • Although many companies will insure pets of any age, none of them will cover pre-existing conditions. For this reason, it is worth considering enrolling your pet in a health plan at a young age, so that conditions that develop later in life will be covered.
  • Consider establishing a “medical savings account” for your pet so that you have financial reserves to cover medical expenses as your pet ages. Setting aside a little bit each week can establish a sizeable financial cushion. You can also use this fund to cover deductibles, co-pays, and expenses not covered by insurance.
  • Read the fine print. Make sure you understand what is covered, and what is not. If your dog’s breed is prone to hip dysplasia, make sure you know whether or not this condition is covered. Some companies will charge additional fees to cover certain conditions. If your breed is prone to dental disease, take note of whether or not dental cleanings are covered, and how often. Also check the renewal policy: some plans that renew annually, may not cover ailments that occurred in the previous year.

As healthcare costs rise, consideration can be given to pet health insurance. For more information on the research done by reviews.com, visit them at http://www.reviews.com/pet-insurance/.