Spending: Take the bite out of pet health costs
News from Chicago Tribune:

As recently as 20 years ago, if a pet was seriously ill, treatment options were limited. Today, many of the options available to humans — transplants, cancer treatments and so on — are also available for pets.

Rather than choose between your pet’s well-being and your wallet, you may be considering pet health insurance. If you think buying a policy might be right for you, do plenty of research. Until 1997, the only company offering pet insurance was VPI, and it has the largest share of the market. But competition has been growing over the past five years, and now 11 companies offer coverage. Older pets — those past 7 to 10 years old — may not be eligible for a new policy, so getting a policy when your pet is a pup (or a kitten) is the way to go.

When you’re shopping policies, the first thing to look at is how a company pays out claims. The higher the maximum payouts, the pricier the premiums. VPI, for example, reimburses according to a set schedule of benefits. That means that for each diagnosis there’s a ceiling on the amount you can be reimbursed, and the plan pays 90 percent of the allowed amount. In return, premiums are fairly inexpensive. (As when you use your own health insurance out of network, you pay the vet directly and submit your bill for reimbursement.) Many of the newer companies pay a percentage of your vet bill, up to 90 percen…………… continues on Chicago Tribune

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