By Dr. Becker
A pet health insurance carrier recently introduced a new type of coverage for cat owners on a budget. It’s an illness-only plan that provides $4,000 of coverage annually and $10,000 over a cat’s lifetime.
The plan provides coverage for the following feline diseases:
Trauma Asthma Chylothorax Cancer Pancreatitis Arthritis Hyperthyroidism Pneumonia Acquired cataracts Diabetes Heart disease FIP* Renal failure Hypothyroidism FeLV* Hepatic lipidosis Intestinal foreign body Anemia, clotting disorders Cholecystitis Pyrothorax Mast cell tumors
*Feline infectious peritonitis and feline leukemia virus are covered only if the cat has been vaccinated against these diseases (which I don’t recommend).
Non-covered expenses include those for pre-existing, congenital or preventable conditions; elective and preventive procedures; food/vitamins/supplements; reproduction expenses; most alternative therapies; and parasites.
How Much Does a Policy Cost?
According to Veterinary Practice News, they received a quote from the Pets Best website for a $1,000 deductible, 70 percent reimbursement, illness-only policy for a year-old, mixed-breed cat in California for $2.11 a month.
I also requested a test quote for a $1,000 deductible and 70 percent reimbursement, but for a 14 year-old domestic shorthair cat in Nevada, and received a quote of $5.42 per month. If I drop the deductible to $0 and leave the reimbursement at 70 percent, the monthly premium for the same cat goes up to $13.19 a month.
Using my quote as an example, my assumption is that if you have an elderly cat, for $13.19 a month or $158.28 a year, you’ll be reimbursed for 70 percent of the out-of-pocket expenses you incur to have your kitty treated for many common feline illnesses. When you consider the cost of bloodwork, x-rays, ultrasounds, and other tests often necessary for an accurate diagnosis, it’s easy to spend $1,000 just to determine what’s wrong with your pet. With a $0 deductible and 70 percent reimbursement, you’d receive $700 of that $1,000 back from the insurer.
Only you can decide whether this type of coverage might make sense for your individual situation should your kitty become ill.
Before You Sign on the Dotted Line …
If you’re thinking seriously about buying pet insurance, before you commit, I strongly encourage you to call the carrier to confirm you’re getting the coverage you think you are.
For instance, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) isn’t on the list of covered illnesses, but it’s a very common condition in both cats and dogs these days. So I would want to know if IBD is a covered illness. A second example: urinary tract infections (UTIs), another extremely common kitty ailment, aren’t on the list of covered illnesses, but are noted elsewhere as being covered. So this would be another question I would ask the carrier.
I also recommend you look carefully at the “not covered” list and if you have questions, get them answered during your conversation with a representative of the company.
As of August 7, 2012, the plan was available in 26 states. If you’d like more information, you can visit the Pets Best website to see if the feline illness-only plan is available where you live, and request your own quote.