Does Pet Insurance Cover Diabetes?

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When we hear the word diabetes, we typically think of a disease that affects many people. Surprising to many is that pets can develop diabetes as well. In fact, approximately 1 in 230 cats and 1 in 300 dogs are estimated to develop this chronic disease. Not only does diabetes affect the animal’s quality of life, but it can also be a very expensive disease for pet owners.

Pet insurance is a great way to get the financial help pet owners need when their pet becomes sick or injured. The big question is, “Does pet insurance cover diabetes?” Here is some helpful information about diabetes, treatment costs, and finding pet insurance that may cover diabetes.

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Does Pet Insurance Cover Diabetes?

Pet insurance will pay for many things, and there are many things they will not pay for. The good news is that most pet insurance companies will pay for both the diagnosis of and treatment of your pet’s diabetes. The only time where they wouldn’t pay is if the animal exhibited the symptoms of diabetes when you purchased the plan.

For instance, you take your dog to the vet and learn he or she has the symptoms of diabetes, so you rush out to purchase a pet insurance plan. They would not cover any treatment for diabetes because it would be considered a pre-existing condition, and most insurance companies will not cover pre-existing conditions. This is a reason why pet owners should bring their pets in for wellness exams.

Pet insurance that offers a comprehensive plan will help pay for not just the diagnostics but also the treatment minus the deductible and co-insurance. If you own a breed that is at risk of developing diabetes, you may want to choose a pet insurance company that covers chronic illnesses and the veterinarian visits and treatment diabetes requires.

What is Diabetes?

Also known as diabetes mellitus, diabetes is an endocrine disease where the animal’s body is unable to respond to or produce insulin, which results in a high blood sugar or glucose level. When a healthy animal eats its supper, the pancreas goes to work producing enough insulin to control blood sugar levels.

It also takes glucose from the blood and transfers it into the cells where it turns into energy for the animal. When the animal has diabetes, the glucose is unable to get to the cells, resulting in a lack of energy in the cells and the inability to work properly. Diabetes can develop from several factors.

  • Obesity
  • Genetics
  • Pregnancy
  • Immune-mediated disease
  • Chronic inflammation of the pancreas
  • Hormones

Some pets are more at risk of developing diabetes. Male Burmese cats over the age of seven are at risk of developing diabetes. Certain breeds of female dogs over the age of six are more prone to getting diabetes

  • Labrador Retriever
  • Poodle
  • Bichon Frise
  • Yorkshire terrier
  • Miniature Schnauzer
  • Pug

It can be difficult to determine if your pet has diabetes if it’s still in its early stages. This is one of the many reasons why veterinarians recommend pet owners bring their pet in for an annual exam or wellness check. Generally, the earlier a disease like diabetes is caught, the quicker the animal can get treatment, which offers a better prognosis.

Although it may vary from pet to pet, here are a few symptoms that might indicate the animal has diabetes.

  • Increased urination
  • Increased thirst
  • Lethargy
  • Decrease or increase in appetite
  • Cloudy eyes
  • Weight

Annual Cost of Diabetes

The cost of diabetes in your cat or dog can vary, but the one thing pet owners can be sure of is that it is very expensive to take care of a diabetic pet. The most important part of the animal’s treatment is insulin because the animal needs this to regulate the blood’s glucose levels. Insulin can be very expensive, and insulin is not the only cost of treating a diabetic pet.

Add in urine testing, blood work, imaging tests, veterinary examination costs, veterinary hospital costs, injections, syringes, and feeding the animal a veterinarian-prescribed diet. The average annual cost for this type of treatment is $1,200 to $2,400. The cost can vary by the pet, the severity of the disease, and when it was diagnosed.

While the cost can be anywhere from $30 to $200 per month, it can also be much higher. There are ways pet owners can save money while still providing their diabetic pets with the best care.

Shopping Online for Insulin

Although you may find it convenient to buy your pet’s insulin from the vet, this may not be the cheapest or most cost-effective way to go. Many veterinarians mark up their medications 100 percent or more over wholesale prices. They may also charge a dispensing fee. These fees may only be $5 to $15, but it all adds up.

Because online merchants are able to buy in bulk, they’re able to cut the prices drastically. They also don’t have to deal with administrative costs either. Because the insulin must be fresh, it generally has to be shipped overnight, which can increase the shipping cost. However, even with the shipping cost, you’ll still save a lot of money because their price is lower, and you can buy in bulk as well.

Buying Generic

When we buy our own medication, we often choose generic because they are so much less expensive than brand-name drugs. So, why not do the same thing for your pet. There is very little difference in the content or quality of the drugs, but there can be a significant difference in cost. When you factor in that your pet will need this medication for the rest of its life, generic medications allow you to at least save on this cost.

Pharmacy Benefits Plan

Another way you can save money on the cost of diabetes medication for your pet is by joining a pharmacy benefits plan. Although pharmacy benefit plans are not the same as pet insurance, they can save you a lot of money every year. You pay a monthly or annual premium for this plan, and you’ll get huge savings on your pet’s medication.

Plans that Cover Diabetes

Various pet insurance companies will cover the cost of diabetes treatment. What they will pay and how much depends on the company, your deductible, co-insurance, and annual payout limit.

Embrace

Embrace offers a comprehensive insurance plan that covers chronic issues, and this includes diabetes. They cover the cost of treatment such as insulin, injections, syringes, and any other medication and treatment the dog or cat might need. Embrace also offers options to its customers. For deductibles, you can choose from $200, $300, $500, $750 and $1,000. Their reimbursement rate can be 70, 80, or 90 percent. Their annual payout amount can be $5,000, $8,000, $10,000, $15,000 and $30,000.

Pets Best

Pets Best offers insurance that will cover the cost of diabetes treatment as well as a prescription plan that will pay for the medications. Pet owners can choose deductibles of $50, $100, $200, $250, $500, and $1,000. They offer reimbursement levels of 70, 80, and 90 percent. You can choose between a $5,000 annual limit or an unlimited amount.

Nationwide

Nationwide insurance pays the cost of diabetes diagnostics, medication, and treatment as long as the pet doesn’t have diabetes at the time of enrollment. Nationwide may cover a diabetic animal if they are already receiving treatment and are in stable condition. However, they will not cover any conditions that arise from diabetes. Pet owners can choose deductibles that range from $250 to $1,000. They offer reimbursement levels of 50, 70, and 90 percent. You can choose up to a $10,000 annual limit.

It is important to remember that a pet that is already showing symptoms of diabetes or has already been diagnosed will be excluded from coverage by any pet insurance company due to their policies on pre-existing conditions. Your best bet is to get insurance early, that way any unexpected health conditions that arise are covered. Of course, we hope you never need to use insurance, but if you do, you will be happy you got coverage early on.