Pet cancer is the most expensive medical condition in pets. Just as with humans, cancer develops in many pets and is very costly to diagnose and treat. And while it can strike at any age, cancer is much more likely to develop in older pets.
Thirty years ago, it wasn’t common to treat cancer in pets. But little by little, pet owners began to choose treatment and see that their pets’ quality of life could be restored. Today, more pet owners choose to treat their pets when cancer strikes. Diagnosing and treating cancer is costly, but in many cases, treatment can outright cure cancer and certainly extend a pet’s life.
About Our New Cancer Plan
Accident and illness insurance plans offered by Pets Best insurance have always covered cancer. So why did we start offering a Cancer Only policy that covers any malignant cancer in pets?
When Cassie, a 7 year old Labrador Retriever, became lethargic and was unable to keep food down, she was rushed to the emergency room and underwent an enormous amount of tests to determine that she had a possible gastric ulceration. Cassie’s condition was extremely critical – she lost large amounts of blood and didn’t respond to immediate treatments. Facing a risky surgery, the owner was told that Cassie’s may not survive. During this time, the Dr. also discussed the option of euthanasia, but Cassie’s owner decided to go ahead with the surgery because she was a Pets Best Insurance customer. Cassie underwent surgery on the 28th of July to remove the gastric ulceration and required multiple blood transfusions in the process. She was very weak and required nearly constant care over the next five days, plus more tests, monitoring and additional blood transfusions, but she eventually healed enough to stand and walk on her own.
Due to the complexity of the operation and the constant care Cassie received during her treatment, the vet bill totaled more than $18,000. Cassie’s dog insurance policy was limited to a maximum of $7,000 after meeting the deductible, which Pets Best Insurance reimbursed her owners. Unfortunately, they were still left with more than $11,000 in vet bills.
Some consumer reports compare pet insurance to buying an insurance warranty for your washing machine, dryer or other appliance. They also sometimes compare premiums paid for a hypothetical 3-5 year return. Unfortunately they miss the point when it comes to the value we place on our pets and the very rational for pet insurance. Here are a few reasons this comparison just doesn’t stack up:
1. First, cat and dog insurance, like any insurance plan, is designed to reimburse you or help pay for something you might otherwise not be able to afford. Pet insurance is not an “investment,” per se. Insurance, in general, is for future unknown events that may happen. Pet insurance, in itself, was created to help pet owners afford care for unexpected accidents and illnesses that often cost owners thousands of dollars, or more.
With a pet insurance plan an owner may “hit the jackpot” in terms or reimbursement, when a serious illness or accident befalls their pet, where they could receive thousands of dollars in benefits. On the flip side, a pet may not have an immediate need for pet insurance for years. You just never know.
It always amazes me how we tolerate little annoyances from our pets that we would never tolerate from our spouse or another human.
If my wife edges to my side of the bed while asleep, I’ll nudge her back– yet I become a contortionist, even to the point of being uncomfortable, to avoid disturbing Torrey, my tiny Chihuahua! But I suppose that’s just how pet lovers and pet insurance enthusiasts behave with their pets.
Why do we yield to our animals this way? Torrey, short for “little Tornado,” hogs the bed, snores, insists on me petting her at inconvenient times and generally dictates what I should do and when I should do it. Even when I grow annoyed at her demands, she keeps insisting, and I end up complying.
I just found out my pet has a chronic kidney disease which is very costly to treat and none of the dog or cat insurance companies will cover this condition. Why does pet insurance exclude pre-existing conditions?
Dr. Jack Stephens’ Answer:
Insurance is purchased to protect against future, unknown events. Take car insurance for example. Once you’ve already been in a car accident you can’t call to get insurance coverage for repairs. No insurer would reimburse for damage that’s already occurred. If you think of pre-existing health conditions in these terms, it’s easier to understand why a pet insurance company isn’t able to cover things that exist prior to enrolling in a policy. Insurance transfers financial risk from you to the insurance company for future events in exchange for your monthly premium. If the insurance company covered pre-existing conditions, the premium cost would be much too high for the customers to even afford.
Pet health insurance operates by insuring thousands of pets and then pooling the premiums to pay claims for the insured. Some pets will have no claims, while others will have quite large claims. Being insured may help pet owners afford costly pet care for accidents and illness.