It's open enrollment for pet health, too: Pawbamacare is here

Colin Lalley 1600


Colin Lalley

Colin Lalley

Insurance Expert

Colin Lalley is the Associate Director of SEO Content at Policygenius in New York City. His writing on insurance and personal finance has appeared on Betterment, Inc, Credit Sesame, and the Council for Disability Awareness.

Published November 20, 2014|3 min read

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For the next few months, health insurance marketplaces around the country are open for new and returning shoppers. But when it comes to a healthy family, human health insurance is only half of the solution. The other half? Health insurance for your beloved dog or cat.Pawbamacare is a campaign to get more pet owners to buy pet insurance, because pet insurance saves lives. We believe in the value of pet insurance for a simple reason: it helps you pay for the type of expensive pet medical emergency that you might otherwise be unable to afford. It's a health insurance campaign everyone can get behind.

The Pawbamacare enrollment period is open-ended, but there's no reason to delay. The younger your pet is when you purchase pet insurance for him or her, the better the rate you'll get, so it's smarter to protect your pet as soon as possible.

Pet insurance prevents the heartbreak of "economic euthanasia"

We will spend over $15 billion this year on pet health care. The top ten most expensive pet insurance claims from last year ranged from $7,000 to over $40,000. The simple fact is, most households would struggle to pay for emergency medical care for their dog or cat.

We talked to David Grimm, author of Citizen Canine, about how quickly the cost of life-saving pet care can climb into the thousands of dollars. Without pet insurance, he was able to afford the $3,000 it cost to save his kitten Jasper's life, but that happy ending was due partly to luck; if it had cost any more than that, Grimm says he wouldn't have been able to pay for the procedure. One woman Grimm interviewed spent $17,000 on chemotherapy for her dog. As Grimm points out, "Somebody who's lower to middle class, even if they wanted to spend that money, they couldn't."PolicyGenius co-founder Jennifer Fitzgerald has long been an advocate for pet insurance, and has purchased enough good and bad policies over the years to know that today's pet insurance policies cover more and are easier to understand than they were even 10 years ago. Her reasoning for why she bought a policy for her adopted shelter dog, Ruby, earlier this year is simple: "Because I don't want to ever face the decision of lifesaving care for her versus my bank account."

Veterinarians recommend pet insurance

Buying pet insurance isn't just good advice from insurance experts and fellow pet parents; the veterinarians we trust to keep our pets healthy recommend pet insurance, too.Dr. Jacquelyn Wahl of the Emergency Animal Hospital of Northwest Austin told us that a visit to an emergency clinic will cost pet parents $1,000 at minimum, and can quickly rise to $5,000 or more for a multiple-night stay. Dr. Marty Becker, aka "America's Veterinarian," has argued that pet insurance represents "a truly sustainable solution" to the problem of the rising cost of pet health care.

How to buy the best policy

PolicyGenius' mission is to help consumers help themselves when it comes to shopping for all kinds of insurance, and that includes pet insurance. Use our free pet insurance quoting engine to compare quotes from competing pet insurance companies and find the best policy at the best price.If you want to dive deeper, check out our Guide to Pet Insurance. We also debunk several myths about pet insurance in our recent Huffington Post article, "The Biggest Mistake 99 Percent of All Pet Owners Make." Between the guide and that article, you'll be a pet insurance expert in no time―and then you can help join the campaign by helping others protect the health of their pets with pet insurance.