Here’s the Thing – Everybody Hates Their Pet Health Insurance
I know many people who have health insurance for their pets and honestly, I don’t know anybody that’s happy with it. Either it’s too expensive, or it won’t cover this, or it won’t cover that. Whatever it is, they don’t like it. Oh make no mistake, they still realize it’s better to have pet insurance than not to have it. But they’re just not satisfied with their current provider.
Whenever I hear this, I tell them that my wife and I love our pet health insurance. And then those people look at me like I’ve got antlers growing out my head (though then again…I seem to get that reaction a lot…perhaps it’s just me?). I tell them no, really, we’ve got great pet health insurance and we couldn’t be happier with it! I explain that there’s this fantastic company we’ve discovered and that they take excellent care of our furry family. That company is called Healthy Paws Pet Insurance.
What Sets Healthy Paws Apart
Actually, there are many things that set Healthy Paws apart. Their customer service is excellent, and the people I’ve dealt are always, ALWAYS, friendly. And compassionate. And empathetic. The importance of those qualities cannot be overstated. They respond very quickly and professionally to claims and questions.
And if you need to speak with somebody on the phone, you typically get through to them right away. And…get this…the person on the phone can actually help you and answer your questions. What a concept right?! There’s no transferring to this department or that department or any of that nonsense. Woo-hoo!
But one of the things that first drew me to them was the simplicity of their policies. What they do is they cover medical expenses as a result of an illness, injury, genetic condition or emergency care. As long as it’s not a pre-existing condition, your pet is covered. It’s that simple. Also, there are unlimited lifetime benefits, and they don’t have things like a per incident limit, or an annual limit, or any of that sort of shady stuff. They offer lifetime coverage as long as your dog or cat is enrolled before the age of 14.
Pretty cool, right?
So here’s the downside. That means they don’t cover routine medical expenses. So for example, if you take your dog in for her yearly checkup, or rabies shots, or things like that, those things aren’t covered. They feel like those expenses are just part of being a responsible pet parent, and I agree. But some people don’t like that. They like to feel that every time they take their pet to the vet, they’ll get some part of that visit covered. Even if it’s pennies on the dollar. Okay…I guess…
But here’s the thing. Since they don’t cover the routine stuff you’re going to have to pay for anyway, that means Healthy Paws can keep their premiums very, very affordable. That way, you can have pet health insurance coverage for when you REALLY need it.
How Their Policies Work
For me, their policies are really easy to understand, which is super important since I’m not very bright.
You choose an annual deductible amount (either $100, $250, or $500) and a reimbursement percentage (70%, 80%, or 90%). Then, based on the type of pet you have and their age, they calculate your monthly premium. That’s it. You can mix and match the deductible and reimbursement levels to come up with the level of coverage and monthly cost that is right for you.
So obviously, if you want the lowest possible monthly premium, you may want to go with a
$500 deductible and 70% reimbursement level. This will lower your monthly premium, but you’ll also be responsible for more out of pocket costs if an injury or illness occurs. So just be aware of that trade-off.
For us, we prefer a very high level of coverage for our Samoyeds, so we’ve always gone with the $250 deductible and the 90% reimbursement level. For Sacha, who is a healthy 5-year old Samoyed, we pay about $46/month. That’s it! $46/month!
$46 bucks! Very affordable wouldn’t you agree?! It appears Sacha sure thinks so!
Submitting a Claim
With Healthy Paws, you are responsible for paying the medical fees to your provider at the time the service is provided. Then you file a claim to get reimbursed at the reimbursement level you’ve chosen (remember 70%, 80%, or 90%) after your annual deductible has been met.
Let’s take a look at an example. Say you chose coverage with an 80% reimbursement level, and a $100 deductible. And let’s further add that you met your deductible earlier in the year. Got it? Okay, well one day you’re walking your dog having a good old time. Then, all of a sudden, your dog steps on a nail and injures his paw, the poor little guy 🙁
Being a responsible pet parent, you take him to the vet. The vet treats your puppy and your bill is $200 to treat this injured paw. You pay your doctor $200 at the time of the visit, file a claim with Healthy Paws, and a few days later you’ll receive a check in the mail for $160. Boom! That’s it! Easy, right?
Either you or your medical care provider can submit a claim either online, via fax, snail mail, or email. Healthy Paws reviews the claim and it’ll be approved or denied (if denied you’ll be told why), and they send a check out in the mail. Usually within a few days but it can take up to 10. But typically they’re very quick.
What I normally do is pay all of the veterinary expenses on a credit card and then I file the claim online when I get home. The reimbursement check usually arrives within a week, well in advance of when I have to pay the credit card bill (we pay our credit bills in full each month, which I also recommend, but this isn’t a blog for that). 😉
Our Samoyed Ramius and Healthy Paws
If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’ve probably read a lot about our beloved Ramius who passed away in January of cancer. Ramius was my best friend and the sweetest dog in the world and we miss him terribly.
We enrolled Ramius in Healthy Paws Pet Insurance when he was a healthy 6-year old adult. And wow, are we ever thankful we did! Within just a couple years of enrollment, Ramius developed diabetes. I wrote about signs of diabetes in dogs in a previous blog which you can check out. Obviously, he had many expenses related to his diabetic care and they were all covered with Healthy Paws.
Just the expense of his insulin alone more than justified our Healthy Paws monthly premiums. His premiums cost us about $70/month at the end of his life (again, we go with a $250 deductible at a 90% reimbursement level). In his final months, his insulin alone cost about $130/bottle, and that would last us about a month or so. Well right there, do the math! After his deductible was met, we’d be out of pocket $70/month for his premium plus $13 (10% of $130) for each bottle of insulin.
$130 for a bottle of insulin without insurance vs. $83 with insurance. You see what I mean? It’s a no-brainer.
Sadly, Ramius’s health problems were far more serious than just diabetes. He developed a particularly virulent and brutal form of cancer. In the last couple years of his life this resulted in multiple surgeries. Surgery was followed by 20 radiation treatments and 4 chemotherapy sessions. These procedures took a great toll on him physically, so he also had to undergo physical therapy and rehabilitation about twice per week for many months.
In those precious last few months of his life, he was essentially too immobile to leave the house, so we found a veterinarian who makes house calls to care for Ramius in his final days. I’d like to give a special shout out to Dr. Nathaniel Cook who helped us in those last months. If you live in Chicago and need a mobile veterinary service, please visit his website. I don’t know if we could’ve made it through those final days without Dr. Cook and for that, we’ll be forever grateful he came into our lives. Tell him you read about Ramius, he’ll know who you’re talking about.
I’ve never actually added up all Ramius’s medical expenses (I’ve been too scared), but we’re literally talking about tens of thousands of dollars. If I had to guess, probably $40K or $50K all together. Imagine having to pay for all of THAT without pet health insurance!
And here’s the thing, ALL OF THIS was covered by Healthy Paws Pet Insurance. I’ll say that again, ALL OF THIS was covered. For a monthly premium of around $70. You really can’t beat that.
Like everything else with Healthy Paws, the enrollment process is very easy. About 95% of all of their customers self enroll online. Just CLICK HERE and you’ll be taken to their site to start the enrollment process. You can get a quote in all of about 10 seconds. If you decide to complete the form it only takes a couple of minutes. If you click any of the links on this post that take you to the Healthy Paws site you’ll save 10% should you choose to buy a policy. And there is a 30 day money back guarantee and you can cancel your policy at any time.
If you have a pet that’s not insured, then what are you waiting for? Seriously?!
What. Are. You. Waiting. For. Just CLICK HERE to learn more and Save 10%!
And if you have any comments or questions, please leave them for me in the comments section and I’ll get back to you. Thanks for reading!