Happy With VPI, but do your homework

Out of 10

The reason for my having VPI was to ensure medical costs would never be an issue should I ever have to make quality of life decisions regarding possible,life-saving medical treatment for our two Labs, Sadie and Dixie. It was that simple when I purchased health insurance from VPI for our two, four-legged family members. In 2000, when we brought Sadie and Dixie home at age six months,I got them health insurance, including cancer coverage. In 2006 Dixie was diagnosed with Mast Cell Cancer and has been under constant treatment to date. I have been very pleased with the claims process for all their covered treatments,, the response times, the professionalism of customer service and the reimbursements. I would never had been able to afford their care. Dixie's cancer alone, to date, has exceeded $10,000. As I stated at the outset, I never wanted to have to make a decision regarding their quality of life based solely on my ability to pay for medical treatment. That is the peace of mind that VPI has given me. I do not think anyone should have any pet without first considering a worst-case scenario and the potential costs associated with it. People who purchase pets and do so, are buying pets out of selfish personal pleasure, and not out of genuine love or concern for the pet's future welfare. Dixie and Sadie are AKC-registered Black Labs. Dixie was diagnosed by my Vet at less that one year of age with Demodectic Mange, a blood disorder resulting in an weak immune system. Treatment was not covered as VPI considered it a pre-existing condition passed through the blood-line from one of the parents. I maintain to this date that the breeder and Vet should have known of this condition and not allowed the breeding. I share the above to support the following points: Never bring any pet into the family circle unless you intend to treat its quality -of-life issues with the same priority and compassion shown a human family member, regardless of cost. Read and understand what the coverage doesn't cover,and the % reimbursed on each category of treatment. For instance, the % of coverage on the cancer rider is higher than some of the coverage for routine preventative health treatment coverage. I agree with one response that there is some disparity between what the Vet charges for certain services and what the plan allows. The pet owner should have some idea of the Vet fees vs. coverage limits when selecting a Vet and insurance carrier. If negotiating fees with the Vet doesn't help, seek rates from other Vets during the selection process. It would be nice to get Vet costs closer to coverage limits, but then we don't live in a perfect world. For example, I upset my Vet when I requested a Rx for Heart Gard from a different source, simply because I knew the max annual reimbursement VPI allowed. To reduce my out-of-pocket expenses, I went elsewhere when my Vet would not come down on their prices. We have to trust that VPI monitors the growing costs of Vet services and treatment products when setting coverage limits. Maybe there is room for improvement in both camps? Pet owners must know Vet treatment costs. Vet treatment is right up there with human medical expenses in many cases, allowing for physiological variances. Ignorance is no excuse. If you can't afford to give your pet proper and humane medical treatment, then you shouldn't have a pet. In summary, we just took in an abandoned, 8.5 lb., female, miniature dachshund which was urinating blood, had no teeth, bad lungs, and estimated to be over 10 y/o. VPI would not insure the pet due to its estimated age. If we had gotten insurance, its pre-existing conditions would have voided much of the coverage, or if covered, the premiums would have been prohibitive. The animal had no tags or was chipped. After five months, we have spent over $1,000.00 in treatment fees but she is now a healthy part of the family and we will ensure her quality of life will be the best attainable within her specific circumstances for the remainder of her life on earth. Sadie and Dixie have finally accepted that 'Lil Bit' is part of the family for the duration. I am 65 y/o, a retired career soldier who has served two combat tours in Viet Nam. I have been married to my only wife for 42 years,(who by the way is coming out of a three-year cycle with breast cancer surgery); have three adult children and five grandchildren. I have been to most parts of the world and seen the full range of love and hate toward our fellow man, and animals. I have come to the conclusion that humans are not the smartest species on the planet, but that they like to think they are. We are on track to domesticate or eradicate every form of wildlife on this planet. When we domesticate, we make animals dependent, yet we don't really understand them. We keep them and their feelings at a convenient distance and often discard them like we do the daily trash. I can't save or care for all the abused/abandoned animals of the world, or have all the personal pets I'd like to have, because it just isn't realistic. But you get an idea of how I feel about the pets I do have and how I feel about VPI pet insurance.

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