Pet Insurance Now Offered by Capital Blue Cross

Pet owners know how quickly vet bills can pile up if your animal gets sick.

But now, there may be a way to help you out if you are a pet owner – pet insurance.

Officials at Capital Blue Cross, a major Pennsylvania health insurer based in Harrisburg, have started insuring pets, under a program managed by a Philadelphia company, Petplan.

According to Stacy Balaban, Capital’s senior director for strategic development, her company is the first Blue Cross affiliate to offer pet insurance.

“We believe that health insurance is a must-have for the American family, and today, that includes the family pet,” Balaban told local Pennsylvania’s ABC27.

Balaban, who admittedly carries insurance for her own pets, says that there are no age or breed restrictions for the insurance, policies are for $8, 10 or 20 thousand a year in coverage, and premiums run from $18 – $35 per month.

“There’s been a lot of surveys, 73 percent of people are willing to go into debt for pet care,” Balaban explained. “So our issue is if you are going to go into debt, why not just buy pet insurance for $20 to $25 a month instead of something very expensive on your credit card or loan?”

A report by the Philadelphia Inquirer states that Petplan is the brainchild of an English couple who moved to the US for grad school and were forced to pay $5,000 when their cat needed a kidney transplant.

While pet insurance is common in dog-crazy England, Petplan founder Chris Ashton says U.S. vets resist the idea because they are afraid it will “destroy their profession, as human health insurers have degraded the medical profession.” Ashton added, “But they have also realized with the current economic climate, people wouldn’t be able to afford their services.”

Chris cites industry estimates that over one million Americans now carry pet insurance, with written premiums approaching $350 million.

Is pet insurance something that you would consider for your beloved animal?

via CBS 21
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