Health Insurance for Pets

America has gone to the dogs-and cats. More than 63 million U.S. households have pets, and maintaining a pet's health is among the greatest challenges to ownership. Pet owners spend upwards of $12 billion per year on veterinary care.

One company, whose name has become synonymous with quality and trust, hopes to ease the financial burden of unexpected pet healthcare costs. The organization recently announced the launch of a new product, PetCare Pet Insurance Programs, owned by Pethealth Inc., a strategic partner. PetCare Pet Insurance Programs are currently available in 35 states and the District of Columbia.

"Today, our customers look to us in many areas beyond publishing, and we are pleased to introduce PetCare Pet Insurance Programs," says Milton P. Pappas, Reader's Digest Director of U.S. Financial Services. "More than 23 million of our U.S. customers are pet owners."

Mark Warren, President and CEO of Pethealth, Inc., says. " PetCare Pet Insurance Programs not only ensure that your dog or cat gets the best possible medical treatment, but also help to protect owners against large, unanticipated veterinary bills."

"Our programs offer freedom of choice, extensive coverage and nominal paperwork. As a policyholder, you can choose your own licensed veterinarian, assuring you'll get the best treatment for your dog or cat. You can enjoy the emotional benefits of pet ownership without worrying about the financial burden of health care."

Warren continues, "All four types of PetCare Pet Insurance policies pay 100 percent of payable claims, minus a fixed deductible based on policy choice (up to the policy limit). Single-page claim forms and reimbursement within five business days further streamline our indemnity insurance product. Veterinarians can have the satisfaction of helping to ensure that the pets they care for can live long, happy, healthy lives."

Warren said the four PetCare Pet Insurance Program options offer pet owners maximum protection against unanticipated medical costs. Accident coverage for all programs can begin as early as eight weeks of age. The programs include:

• QuickCare for Dogs and Cats, which provides accident-only coverage, ideal for puppies and kittens-although there is no upper age limit for enrollment;

• QuickCare for Indoor Cats, which has been specially designed to cover the expense of those accidents and illnesses most commonly suffered by indoor cats. There is no upper age limit for enrollment;

• QuickCare Gold for Cats and Dogs, which provides "head-to-tail" coverage for virtually any situation including over 6,000 types of accidents and illnesses. Enrollment is possible up to age 10 for cats and age 8 for dogs (age 6 for "select" breeds). Once enrolled, coverage may continue for the rest of the pet's life; and

• QuickCare Senior for Cats and Dogs, which is especially tailored for previously uninsured senior pets. There is no upper age limit for enrollment.

Warren points out the importance of having pet insurance: Pet insurance is a relatively new idea in the United States, where less than one percent of the estimated 68 million dogs and 73 million cats have health insurance. In Sweden, however, 48 percent of owners have taken out health insurance plans for their pets. In Great Britain, nearly 20 percent of pets are covered.

Advancements in medicine have given veterinarians the ability to vastly improve quality of life or even save a pet's life. Yet such advances come with increased costs. Dogs and cats get cancer and other illnesses that often can be treated just like the human varieties-but chemotherapy treatment for a pet can cost thousands of dollars. Common accidents, such as the ingestion of a foreign object, can require surgery that can cost more than $1,000.

One recent survey reported that 84 percent of pet owners in the U.S. consider their pets to be their "children"-and nearly 75 percent say they'd be willing to go into debt for their pets' well-being. A product such as PetCare Pet Insurance Programs gives both a pet owner and a veterinarian peace of mind.

Information about PetCare Pet Insurance can be found at and through a toll-free telephone number, 1-866-4-RDPETS (1-866-473-7387).

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