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Health plans for pets and how to choose wisely

Pet owners treat their animals like a part of the family. So it’s important pets get the care they deserve. Your Better Business Bureau can help you determine what care is best for your pet and how to make sure that a health care plan won’t wallop your finances.

Sixty-two percent of U.S. households own a pet, says the American Pet Products Association (APPA). That equates to almost 73 million homes. Of that, more than $52 billion was spent on pets last year, with more than $13 billion spent on veterinary bills.

The cost of taking care of a pet over a lifetime can add up quickly. Most people can pay for care out of pocket for routine checkups and vaccinations. But, when unexpected injuries or illnesses happen to your pet, are you prepared?

Your BBB wants to make sure you’re clear on the difference between two types of pet health coverage offered: wellness and insurance plans. Wellness plans basically are for proactive and preventative care, while insurance plans cover treatment of unexpected illnesses or injuries.

Your Better Business Bureau offers these pet health plan tips:

• Get several quotes. Not all plans are created equal.

• Get recommendations from family, friends or your vet. They should be able to answer questions you may have and what coverage is best for you and your pet.

• Don’t put off purchasing wellness and insurance plans if you’re considering them. Insuring pets when they’re young and healthy eliminates the problem of not being able to have care covered by a plan due to pre-existing conditions.

• Make sure you’re clear on the coverage and the effective date. Keep a copy of your plan with you.

• Determine if the plan involves an annual or monthly payment. In addition, ask if it renews automatically and how you can cancel.

• Get everything in writing. Review the plan’s terms and conditions.

• Keep your receipts and documentation so you can dispute any coverage.

• Remember, as with any other health care plans, deductibles and co-pays may apply.

If you have any questions regarding health plans for pets, you can always get help from your BBB. Visit or call (937) 222-5825 or (800) 776-5301.

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