|Barked: Fri Feb 1, '13 2:17pm PST |
|In April, 2008, my cat James had surgery for prostate cancer. James is doing fine, almost five years after his surgery. VPI paid for most of his care, approximately 90%, and was a real lifesaver.
Unfortunately, my girl Shadow died from lung cancer on November 7, 2012. VPI was anything but helpful. A lot of tests were necessary to finally diagnose her condition, The total bill was over four grand. VPI paid less than half, Surprised, I called to find out why.
I was told that since over four years had passed since James’ treatment, local costs must have gone up. And poor VPI couldn’t increase the benefit schedule without the regulators’ permission. Of course, each year Shadow’s premium had gone up. And I was told that wasn’t because of my cat’s age or health, but due to increased cost of veterinary services. I’m supposed to believe that the New York State Department of Insurance will allow rate increases, but not benefit increases?
And then I was told it was my fault, because I didn’t buy enough coverage. Both James and Shadow had the Superior Plan with Cancer Endorsement. I was told me I should have ‘upgraded’ to the Careguard program. This is a newer product that provides more Wellness care, but not increased coverage for catastrophic illness. At least that is what VPI’s sales rep told me when I enquired about Caremark at renewal time. I’m sure he would have sold more coverage if I needed it.
After my experience with James, I was an enthusiastic believer in pet health insurance. I’m not sure anymore. With Shadow, I would have done much better to self-insure. Her final illness would have cost me more than double, but I would have saved a decade of premiums. And I wouldn’t have had to listen to VPI’s annoying lies while I was mourning her.
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