Pet Health Benefits Offered By Employers On The Increase

News from the AP tells us that while insurance coverage for pets via your employer is still rare the insurance industry predicts that this benefit will increase. At a time when employers are scaling back on almost everything, especially expensive health plans, pet insurance is gaining in popularity as an employee benefit. Isn’t it comforting to know that your dog or cat is covered, even if you aren’t? The growth of this perk comes about as pets occupy an increasingly prominent place in the American home. (as if that is a big surprise!) It’s estimated by the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association that pet owners spent more than 9.8 billion on pet care in 2007. That’s an increase of almost 3 billion over what was spent in 2001. Up to now only about 2% of our pets have any kind of pet insurance but experts predict that number to grow to 10% over the next decade as other options for animal medical care become available.

Veterinary science has grown by leaps and bounds and therapies that were not available as little as two years ago are almost commonplace now. MRI’s, CAT scans and endoscopies are regular treatments and pet owners are now able to screen for illness early on rather than waiting to treat something that pops up unexpectedly. Unlike human health care insurance plans where the employer pays the cost of the benefit, pet insurance doesn’t cost employers a dime. (why do you think it’s offered?) Employees pick up the cost of the premiums but receive discounts if purchased through an employer. Seems like a no-brainer for the employer but only a few companies like Comcast, Walt Disney, Home Depot and Sprint are offering the benefit. For most companies, pet insurance is simply a way to help employees at no cost to the bottom line. checking for a pulseI wish I had had the opportunity to get pet insurance before my chocolate lab Duke got sick and almost died. But as a self-employed individual I am not eligible. Still, I don’t regret spending the $3000. it took to save his life. For me there was no alternative and he is worth every penny, isn’t your pet? 

Ten Things To Ask Before Buying Pet Insurance

Make an educated decision about pet insurance. Get answers to the most important questions all pet owners should consider when looking for dog or cat insurance.

1. Does the company have a record of stability and proven success?

2. Does the company employ certified and trained pro’s?

3. Does the company receive veterinary recognition of any kind?

4. Are you offered annual policies with honest renewal terms and no surprises?

5. Will you receive renewable benefits at no additional cost?

6. Do you understand how reimbursements are determined and made?

7. Does the company specify coverage exclusions that you can understand?

8. Does the company provide broad coverage and unlimited benefits?

9. Does the company believe in routine or early warning care for your pet?

10. Are you limited to a veterinary network or required to pre-certify your pet? 

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