A Paws For Pets — Affordable pet care

By Susan Rodabaugh, York Adopt A Pet

We all understand our pets seem to be costing us more. It’s not just the essentials like food, supplements, treats and toys. It includes all care we need to keep our pets healthy and happy, including veterinarian visits.

Like all things these days, veterinarian costs are not the same price as they were four years ago. I’ve come across two options.  One includes purchasing pet insurance and the other is called CareCredit. Like many pet owners, I don’t know much about either, so I decided to do a little research. Here is what I found.

Pet insurance is like people insurance. You pay a premium every month and have that insurance in case your pet has a major medical expense. Policies will vary, giving the purchaser offers from limited coverage to all-inclusive coverage. There are  advantages and disadvantages to having pet insurance. The advantages would include:

  • One pet emergency could far exceed the premium cost.
  • Some policies offer reduced costs for routine procedures, vaccines and annual exams.
  • Some plans will allow you to continue with your own veterinarian.
  • Benefits may cover expensive therapies  which would give you more time with your pet.
  • Some plans offer riders for additional coverage such as dental care or accidental death.
  • Some plans will even cover boarding fees in the event you are hospitalized.
  • Care will be provided for your pet without incurring debt.
  • Some insurance companies will allow you to decide what you want to insure so you can save money on the premiums.

Some of the disadvantages would include:

  • Pre-existing conditions may be excluded.
  • Coverage may be limited by age or get more expensive as your pet gets older.
  • Some policies require you to use their network of veterinarians or you may have to pay an extra fee.
  • Early cancellation fees may apply to some policies.
  • Certain policies may only cover emergencies or accidents.
  • Benefits may be paid as a reimbursement after the vet visit.
  • Premiums may exceed your veterinary costs.
  • Breed-specific conditions may be excluded.
  • Long-term care may be limited or have a maxim.
  • Veterinarians find themselves fighting with the insurance companies over denied claims.
  • Having coverage for multiple pets can get expensive unless the policy offers a multi-pet discount.
  • One can’t predict the cost of veterinary care for a simple ear infection to a catastrophic or serious medical condition.
  • Not all veterinarians take insurance, yet.

There are plenty of options when choosing a company to get pet insurance. Consider your current annual costs compared to the annual premiums to be aware of the differences you may save or have an increase in your expenses.

The second option is to get CareCredit. This is a line of credit which can be used to cover medical expenses. It covers medical supplies, bills and surgeries.

You will be responsible for the full balance of your veterinarian cost. It is more like a credit card, designed to help you make large purchases on the spot and then have you pay it off later. It has terms and financing and the interest rate charged could be high. Some of the advantages would be:

  • It covers all medical expenses as long as the healthcare provider accepts it.
  • You can pay it off in increments instead of one large payment.

Some of the disadvantages are:

  • It’s a credit card so your interest rate depends on your credit. Late payments will go on your credit report.
  • It will charge interest on the original balance, not the remaining balance.
  • It can only be used for medical needs.

As the quality of veterinary care advances, so will the cost. It is up to you to make the right decision for your pet and your budget.

Please attend the York Adopt A Pet garage sale being held on May 3 from 9 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. and on May 4 from 9 a.m. to noon.  Don’t miss out on the bargains and fun! Your support makes a difference in the lives of the dogs and cats at the shelter. You won’t be sorry!

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