Pet Insurance and Some of My Story (It Gets Emotional)

I’ve been considering pet insurance when I adopt.  Yes, it’s true.  I find myself currently catless.  I want to be in the position to take care of any emergencies when they arise. And they shall arise. Right now I am not in that position.

I’m doing my research, however. I’ve come across various pros and cons.  One of the biggest pros is that it seems that most insurance plans will reimburse you for most visits and costly treatments and procedures.  Here’s a comparison of some plans. Scroll down and look at the left sidebar – it lists a number of pet insurance companies.

This is an interesting perspective from a veterinarian.  Anecdotally, I’ve heard from a trained vet tech that pet insurance is a scam (taken from a Facebook pet group discussion), and I’ve also heard that it made a costly procedure possible for a fur buddy’s human (taken from the same Facebook thread).

From what I’ve read, it does seem that one must come up with the payment to the vet up front, and then submit the claim for reimbursement.  For someone with, say, a huge student loan debt, or someone whose credit has been damaged by a large medical bill, coming up with the up-front payment could pose a problem. Personally, I’ve been lucky enough to find some very special vets (including Dr. Fabiano in Brooklyn) who were willing to work with me financially.  But I defaulted on student loans long ago, and have never qualified for a credit card, including, unfortunately, the pet credit card.

Looking forward, however, and being a little older and wiser, I would much, much rather be able to pay the bill without having to worry about it too much.  Of course, I’ve always made sacrifices for the cats who’ve found their ways into my life, and I always will.  It just seems safer and less stressful to have some money socked away for ERs.

Me, I’m covered.  I qualify for Medicaid, and it feels like a huge luxury.  That is something that makes me really sad about the US: that good, affordable treatment is a luxury.  We’re talking cats, though, and they don’t qualify for free public health insurance just by being homeless or low-income.

I have come across some resources that are worth looking into (the article’s title says “…for dogs,” but it includes information regarding cats, too).  This organization, Alleycats.org, has links for everything from pet food from food banks, to financial help for emergency care.  It’s a very good compilation of resources.  Me, personally, I had success setting up a gofundme.com page for my IMG_0679 16-year-old’s treatment in 2013. Ultimately, the vet and I decided that she was really suffering, and that putting her through a painful, protracted treatment that had potentially poor odds wasn’t worth it.  It tore me apart.  RIP, little one.  The generosity of strangers amazed me, though, I have to say.  Coming from a well-to-do, but unbelievably cruel family and background, I could hardly believe peoples’ kindnesses.  Incredible.

I think my kitty’s death, 2 years ago, and my desperate race to keep up with my rent and food and her care after finding myself jobless, prompted some profound introspection.  I’ll share this with you, readers:  I recently moved into housing after a year and a half of living in the NYC shelter system.  I’ve got a nice little subsidized apartment that comes with a lot of hoops to jump through, and lacks a certain amount of privacy and dignity. But I’m here.  I think Manchitas (“Munch”) – up there in the photo – was with me the whole time.  I lost her just weeks before I had to leave my apartment.  I miss her every day.  I don’t ever want to find myself struggling to pay cat health care again.  So, even though it’s painful to wait, I’m waiting til I’m in a good  place financially to adopt.  I’m waiting to find that place that feels like home, too.  This place does not.

To the future, and to cats, dogs, bunnies, horses, gerbils, guinea pigs, and all the companions who make our lives better.  And to Munch and Seamus before her, who look out for me every day.

Take care, readers.

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