To Insure or Not

It seems that every time we turn around the cost of something has gone up.

For those of us in Florida and elsewhere the cost of insurance on our homes has reached unbelievable heights in most areas, taxes on our homes are also reaching record highs, along with the cost of gasoline, life in Paradise is getting costly.

We grumble in the grocery store and now we have a new source to help empty our pocketbooks.

Veterinary bills are on the rise.

Vet bills have been on the rise for several years, but suddenly with all the new added expenses we, as pet owners, are noticing it more.

This year, early projections will show that pet owners will spend approximately $9.5 billion (yes, that is a B) on veterinary care.

Why so much?

Inflation, of course is one reason, but as costs rise for us, they also rise for our vets.

Drugs cost more, personnel costs have risen, new and more modern advances have taken place, extra schooling to keep up with new treatments and the maintenance of the clinic facilities is costing more.

Today, there are more pet owners and most pet owners believe in giving their pets proper medical care.

Open heart surgery, kidney transplants, radiation and chemotherapy for cancer problems are almost common topics of conversation with pet owners.

Modern medicine has not only come up with great advances for the human element, advances have grown in the world of cats and dogs.

Treatment for diabetes and kidney problems are everyday occurrences in caring for our cats and dogs.

We as pet owners expect the best for our “furry children” and the best costs money.

It is true that where you live, can affect the cost of your vet care.

Areas where the cost of living is high, vet bill will be higher, as everything moves in unison (high cost of living = higher wages, etc.)

What can we do about it?

Truthfully not much, but there are things to consider that might make the pain of paying a little less hurting.

Believe it or not, the lack of insurance coverage makes us feel it more.

We now live in a world of “co-pay” for our medical expenses, so a visit to the doctor for us does not hurt so much.

Very few of us have “pet insurance” to help ease the pocketbook pain.

A good many of us look at pet insurance premiums as something we can do with out, as I currently do.

When I figure out the cost of the once a year visit for our pets to the vet and maybe one of them might have to go in one more time for something minor, the cost is negligible.

Therefore, an insurance premium for each cat seems a rather frivolous expense.

What we don’t realize, should we have a serious problem with one of our pets, numerous tests and blood work will have to done, with us bearing the full burden of the cost.

Without insurance there is no third party to share expenses with, as there is with our human insurance.

Lab work and test charges are almost the same in cost for our pets as they are for us.

To buy or not to buy, pet insurance can be a complex question and one that only a “working crystal ball” can answer.

Only about 3 percent of all pet owners currently have pet insurance.

On the plus side of pet insurance, is the fact that out of pocket expenses would be lower when visiting the vet. There would be more options that a pet owner would consider if costs were covered by insurance.

If your pet were to suddenly develop cancer, diabetes or another serious ailment, pet insurance could be a tremendous benefit.

On the negative side vet costs would increase as the practice would need to hire people to handle insurance claims, if more people had insurance.

Pet insurance in most cases does not cover genetic diseases especially ones that are usually found in certain breeds.

Each company and each policy have many differences regarding deductibles, caps on treatments and heaven knows what else, all of which enters the picture of reimbursements.

Not being pro or con on the subject of insurance, my own opinion leans toward “preventive medicine.”

I believe in feeding my guys the best food I can afford, giving vitamins, preventing hairballs, keeping them flea free, using dental treats to keep healthy teeth and gums along with yearly trips to the vet for shots and checkups.

My two males, which are special needs cats, require more time, care and patience than they do medical needs so I am very lucky in that respect.

If you are a dog owner there are many ways you can practice preventive medicine on your own. Taking your dog to the vet or yearly or semi-yearly checkups is a start. Heart worm prevention can save you a ton of money in the long run.

Keeping your pet flea free helps to fight off some diseases and skin problems.

Offering treats and toys that help keep the teeth clean is an inexpensive way to go and most importantly do not let your dog roam free.

Accidents and dog fights can really put a dent in you checkbook.

I sincerely believe, the best advice I can give is when you think your pet is not feeling up to par, call your vet, take your pet in, that office call may save you a fortune in later fees.

Catching a problem at its early stages can not only save your pet’s life, but save you a bundle of money.

Last but not least, do some research on insurance companies, compare benefits, prices and reimbursement policies, read the fine print and maybe you will find one that suits your needs.

Good luck!