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Posted on Wed, Jul 17, 2013 : 12:14 p.m.

A growing trend: Employers offering pet health insurance as part of their benefits packages

By Lorrie Shaw


Lorrie Shaw | Contributor

With the advances in veterinary medicine these days, pets are living a lot healthier — and longer.

This comes at no small cost: with the money, research and work that goes into the technology, drugs and developing techniques that are at their core, it's no wonder that some of the treatment is so expensive.

As those who share life with pets can surely attest, the desire to get treatment for them is there, but it can be a challenge to come up with the funds to pay for it should a pet need it.

Pet health insurance is an option, it is one that is growing in popularity to help offset the cost.

It's a topic that can be up for debate with many, as was discovered in a piece that I wrote in 2011. It's not an issue that's as straightforward as one would think. There can be a fair amount of strife when it comes to thinking about how we care for pets.

Some commenters made the point that affording their own health insurance (or their own health care for that matter) is challenging enough, and that they have either had to make the choice to drop pet health insurance coverage or, as in the case of a lot of pet owners, to forgo treatment for a pet altogether or perhaps work with their veterinarian to find a way modify a treatment as a more affordable option.

Lets face it, in the tough financial climate that we've been experiencing the last several years in Michigan, there area lot of families in that boat.

Pet health insurance can run just a few dollars per month, to according to Pet Insurance Review, to about $75 per month, depending on the policy that one chooses. There is a deductible, just as with health insurance meant for humans.

For many people, they feel that spending the money that would go toward insurance and instead putting it into vaccinations, high-quality food and such is a wiser idea.

But employees of some companies in the United States are able to take advantage of pet health insurance as part of a benefits package offered by their employer, making it more affordable,

MGM Resorts International and Chipotle Mexican Grill are just two companies that have taken the lead to offer this perk.

“Like any kind of health care offering, (pet insurance) is viewed as an employee enticement and retention tool,” notes Charles J. Sebaski. He's an insurance analyst for BMO Capital Markets in New York.

As we are well aware, pets are part of the family for many. This strategy could give some companies an overall edge, but that remains to be seen. With the trend of households having fewer children and including more pets, that little extra perk could help sway a decision to take a job — or not.

The nation’s oldest and largest pet insurer, Veterinary Pet Insurance, offers policies through about 3,400 companies and associations across the country, according to VPI president Scott Liles.

Read more here on the topic from a recent piece on

Does your employer offer this perk, and do you find it valuable?

Lorrie Shaw leads the pets section for Connect with her on Google + or e-mail her directly.



Mon, Jul 22, 2013 : 1:22 p.m.

Life must be nice for those at the top whose companies offer options like this. For the rest of us guess it is back to the 9 - 5 grind.

Brett S.

Fri, Jul 19, 2013 : 3:02 p.m.

As a pet owner, you're much more likely to SAVE money over the course of a pet's lifetime, than lose money, by investing in pet insurance. I went to which is just one of the many websites dedicated to providing the facts about pet insurance. Not only will you save money, but your pet will have better coverage.


Thu, Jul 18, 2013 : 1:01 p.m.

You mean Obamacare doesn't cover dogs, cats and guppies? Scandalous! Shoulda guessed what "universal" means in Democrat Speak, they couldn't even explain Obamacare when they went around the country giving "town hall meetings" to do that. All they have to show for 5 years of Obama-Rama is a few thousand pages of obscure health insurance text and a laughable gun control campaign. Well, as for pet insurance, what ever happened to a bowl of kibble, a bucket of water and a reasonably well made doggy bed on the back porch? I guess you have to be born a townie or a yuppie to be interested in having life flights to the vet hospital for your pet.