Tuesday, February 2, 2016

How I Turned $8,000 of Vet Bills into $1,500 (Or, why pet insurance is awesome and everyone should have it)

You haven't really lived until you've put almost $9,000 on your credit card at the emergency vet, but that's just what I did at the end of January when my four dogs got into some ibuprofen. Ibuprofen ingestion is a serious medical emergency, requiring 48 or more hours of hospitalization to prevent kidney problems, GI ulcers/perforation, and neurological damage - even if the dog eats as little as one tablet of ibuprofen.

Thankfully, due to a quick response and excellent care, my pups are home and naughty as ever. And, thanks to PetPlan, my credit card is doing just fine, too. All four of my dogs have pet insurance, ranging from $20 to $40/month each (Maisy and Lola are more expensive due to their age and breed, respectively).

The expensive, naughty, utterly wonderful beasts in question.

Peace of Mind
The best thing about pet insurance is the peace of mind it provides. Taking a dog to the ER vet is always stressful, but it's so much easier when you know that you can make decisions based on what's best for your pet as opposed to what your wallet will allow. Even once everyone's home and healthy, it's a huge relief to know that I haven't just put myself into ridiculous amounts of debt, even if it would be worth it.

Financial Breakdown
PetPlan offers great plans, allowing you to choose your deductible, reimbursement amount, and yearly maximum. All four of my dogs have the Gold plan, which means they are covered for over $20,000 of care per year. (Some companies do not have a yearly maximum like this, but when I called around several years ago, those plans had more exclusions, or were significantly more expensive.) All four of my dogs have a $200 per-illness deductible, after which PetPlan pays 100% of the cost for the boys and 80% of the cost for the girls.

Here's what it looked like for each dog:

Pyg's total bill was $2,284.11. I pay a $200 deductible, and PetPlan pays $2,084.11.

Maisy's bill was $1,860.74. I pay a $200 deductible plus 20% coinsurance ($372.15), and PetPlan pays $1,288.59

Napi's bill was $1,943.02. I pay a $200 deductible, and PetPlan pays $1,743.02.

Lola's bill was $1,975.32. I pay a $200 deductible plus 20% coinsurance ($395.06), and PetPlan pays $1,380.26.

TOTAL BILL: $8,063.19
MY SHARE: $1,567.21

The Process
Here's my favorite part of PetPlan: the reimbursement process. Now, all pet insurance is a reimbursement plan because pets are (technically) property in the US. This means that I had to pay the total cost up front. This is challenging (who has eight grand lying around??), but I guess god invented credit cards for a reason!

PetPlan makes it easy, though. To make a claim, all I have to do is download an app on my phone, take a picture of the bill and any medical records I have, and they do the rest! I made a claim for all four dogs on Sunday around 9pm, and a check was in the mail less than 48 hours later!! (Both the app and the website make it easy to follow the claims process online.) I should have the check by the end of the week.

PS- I am so not being paid to post this. I just LOVE PetPlan a lot. Seriously. Buy insurance for your furry friends. It is worth every penny; the way I figure, this incident just paid for FOUR YEARS worth of premiums.