Most people know that having health insurance is important to taking care of themselves and their loved ones.
Pet owners also know that getting pet insurance is also crucial as pets are part of the family and they also deserve advanced medical care when they need it – albeit at a hefty cost. But what many pet owners don’t realize is there are very important differences between human health insurance and pet insurance.
“Pet owners must know these key differences affecting their coverage.”
- Both health insurance and pet insurance can cover healthcare.
2. There are important differences between personal insurance and pet insurance.
3. Pet owners need to understand these differences as they affect the coverage available.
Here are three major discrepancies to be aware of that could affect available coverage.
- Pet insurance can exclude pre-existing conditions, but personal insurance cannot.
One of the biggest differences between pet insurance and human health insurance relates to pre-existing medical conditions.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (better known as ObamaCare) prohibited human insurance companies from denying health insurance to individuals because of pre-existing medical conditions.
It also prohibited insurers from charging them higher premiums based on existing medical problems. Because this protection exists under ObamaCare, insurers cannot penalize people who became ill before they were covered by a human health plan.
Even people with serious medical conditions can enroll for insurance during the annual open enrollment season. Once they sign up, they can pay the same price as anyone else of the same age in the same place and get their medical care for the condition covered by the insurance.
This is not the case with pet insurance. Every pet insurer has regulations on pre-existing conditions. Generally, if an animal had a medical problem before it was insured, any treatment that might relate to that existing problem will not be covered by the insurer going forward.
This means that if a pet owner does not take out insurance for their pet before the pet becomes ill, the pet owner will have to pay for all the necessary care themselves.
Some pet insurers have a slightly looser pre-existing condition than others. For example, if the condition is acute rather than chronic and an animal has taken a period of time to recover from it, the insurer may, after a reasonable period of time, offer coverage again for a similar problem.
But in any case, if a pet has an existing medical condition, there is no guarantee that a pet insurer will have to offer coverage for it if the pet owner so chooses.
- Pet insurance does not usually cover preventative care while human insurance does.
Of course, most health insurance companies pay for the provision. In fact, even health plans with high deductibles typically offer fairly comprehensive coverage for preventative benefits even before the deductible is met.
Most pet insurance policies, on the other hand, are only designed to pay for the care that is needed following an accident or when an animal becomes ill. In other words, the standard plans don’t cover routine veterinary care or wellness care like visits to get vaccines.
Now there are some pet insurers that have additional wellness plans that offer this coverage. But not all do, and there are additional costs involved, which is not the case with human health insurance.
- Many pet insurance policies have lifetime coverage limits, while human insurance policies cannot.
Finally, it is common for pet insurers to limit the amount of coverage a pet can receive per year or per illness. Health insurers, on the other hand, cannot limit insurance coverage to life.
For all these reasons, personal insurance is more comprehensive than pet insurance. Pet owners need to know the differences and make sure they understand the coverage they’re buying and save money to pay for anything their policy doesn’t provide.