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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I have had Pet Plan for 7 years and have been happy with them. Pet Plan increases premiums every year based on age and after the age of 7 my increases were as much as 25% a year.

One of the attractive things about Healthy Paws is that their premiums are not raised based on age but *are* raised based on the cost of care. These also seem to be annual but could anyone who has had HPs for several years tell me how much they average? I've seen credible sources say it varies from 7% to 11% while another person was told on the phone the typical increase was only 3% or 4%.

If the increases average 10% by the end of the tenth year HP is about the same (very high) premium as PP. If the increase is less than 5% I *might* consider switching my healthy puppy. While PP has its quirks (annual deductible per incident, 20% co-pay for specialists) I really dislike that HP does not pay for the initial exam.

Which begs the question, does HP pay for follow up exams with same vet, exams for a second opinion with a different vet for the same "incident"? Or are all exam fees always excluded?

And if they exclude payment for the exam do they pay for diagnostic tests charged at the same time?

Vet fees in New York City can get pretty outrageous fast which is why I have insurance. Having to lay out $100 for an exam on top of my deductible is a little hard to swallow. Having to pay for testing would be a deal breaker.

(I know I could call them about these questions but I'm not convinced I should switch. And i"m lazy :) Thanks for your help)
 

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I looked at them when I was choosing a company. I had the same questions as you and likewise found it easier to just choose a different company than to go with one who didn't make what they offer clear...

If I remember correctly with Pet Plan they will treat any condition/illness as long as it has been 6 months since the animal was last seen/treated for it...where as with Healthy Paws it states in the policy they exclude ANYTHING that the pet has ever had before you picked up insurance. That brings to mind, for example, an ear infection a dog had as a puppy, then 3 years later they get another one...from their policy, they wouldn't cover that. Of course, it could be a matter of the way it is written but I'm not gonna dig any deeper.

From skimming the policy, looks like they cover diagnostic tests, but if it turns out to be something that the plan doesn't cover they won't pay for them.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I also didn't like how they claim 'no pet insurance company can cover preexisting conditions' which isn't true (it just costs you more). If I remember correctly with Pet Plan they will treat any condition/illness as long as it has been 6 months since the animal was last seen/treated for it...where as with Healthy Paws it states in the policy they exclude ANYTHING that the pet has ever had before you picked up insurance. That brings to mind, for example, an ear infection a dog had as a puppy, then 3 years later they get another one...from their policy, they wouldn't cover that. Of course, it could be a matter of the way it is written but I'm not gonna dig any deeper.
You raise an important point. I don't know about PP's "six month" rule. I should think they are selective and it depends on the condition.

But to illustrate your point: I started my last dog with Embrace. This was before PP was available in the US (interestingly both Embrace and PP USA evolved out of a graduate student competition at Wharton with two teams as finalists. One team went on to start Embrace and the other PP). Before Benji was insured we discovered he had a perianal tumor that needed to be removed and biopsied. Perianal tumors are much less serious than perianal fistulas and are almost always benign. Unneutered dogs get them if they are intact into middle age.

When Embrace underwrote the policy they wanted to exclude *all* forms of cancer for a tumor that had biopsied benign. I had to argue with them to reinstate all forms of cancer but they still excluded a recurrence of the perianal tumor, which is rare but it happens.

When PP became available some months later (I never had to file a claim with Embrace) I switched because PP seemed better all around. When they came to underwrite the policy, there was no mention of cancer exclusion. They simply excluded a recurrence of the perianal tumor specifically for, as you said, six months. Much better.

The problem is that these decisions are made by underwriters who normally don't speak to customers. Even Petplan has occasionally misinterpreted my documentation and denied a claim, but they quickly corrected the error when it was pointed out to them. This is why I always recommend people have a new policy underwritten as soon as possible so that legitimate exclusions don't come as a surprise and any misunderstandings can be corrected.

Anyway I'm kind of surprised to hear that Healthy Paws pulls the same kind of stunt that Embrace attempted with me. And the more I think about it the bigger turn off it is that they don't pay for the exam(s). It's a hidden deductible they try to put over as a "co-pay" and a real deterrent. Assuming you only have one insured problem a year your actual deductible could be well over $300 before they start to pay and then you're still paying the vet 10%. PP is the only insurer I've found that reimburses 100% and the extra coverage doesn't add much to the premium at all. Knowing that the most I'll be out of pocket (in addition to the premiums of course) is $200. (That said, PP *does* charge a 20% co-pay for specialist care which bothers some people; not me.)
 

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We have Trupanion for our first dog for 5.5 years and when we just got our new pup, I shopped Trupanion, Healthy Paws & Pet Plan and spoke with their respective customer service advisors. One of the questions I had is, what drives any premium increases? I immediately eliminated Pet Plan because in addition to market forces and inflation, the premiums increase as the dog ages. Trupanion and Healthy Paws premium increases are only driven by market forces and inflation. When we first purchased the Trupanion plan the premium was $38.00 per month and now at almost 6 years we are paying $42.00. We chose Healthy Paws because they operate the same way as Trupanion and in fact one of Trupanion's execs left Trupanion for Healthy Paws so I am anticipating similar performance. Only reason we chose Healthy Paws over Trupanion this time around is because the premium for our new pup was considerably higher than Trupanion's quote for the same coverage. It is reasonable to see increases for inflation and market conditions, it was not acceptable to me to add pets age on top of that. By the way I asked Pet Plan if they could give me an idea how much my premium would rise over time. The rep could not but indicated I could get an idea by plugging in various ages for the same dog in their on-line quote which I did. At 5 years the premium was considerably higher and by age 10 it was astronomical and those rates only accounted for age of the dog and did not include market conditions and inflation.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
FWIW, I just quickly calculated what I paid Pet Plan in premiums in the years that the premium went up by at least 20% from 2012-2015: the total paid in premiums was $2298 or a fairly reasonable $55 average a month for 42 months. Again this was for a small mixed breed in the most expensive market in the USA aged 7 to 10.

Total reimbursement was $3192 or a "profit" of $893 during the most expensive years. I don't have records for the period from 2008-2012 but since the premiums were much lower and we made some claims I suspect that we more or less broke even. Despite the high cost of the last few years I can't really complain.

BTW for us, perhaps because we are in New York City, Trupanion is not at all a good value. The premiums start at more than twice that of Pet Plan or Healthy Paws, the reimbursement rate is 10% lower than Pet Plan, the deductible is higher and exams are not covered. "Alternative" treatments require a rider that adds almost $100 to the yearly premium. To put this in perspective I would be paying Trupanion as much in premiums the first year as I paid Pet Plan in the tenth year with significantly more out of pocket expense. And this of course does not take into account any premium increases from Trupanion, no matter how much smaller than Pet Plan's they might be.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Pet insurance is rarely worth the price (consumerreports.org) - http://is.gd/4tH6ED

"Don't be caught off guard by premium increases, which can vary by state. Insurers may base their hikes on a pet's age, veterinary cost inflation, or other factors. Trupanion, the company that performed best overall in our New York example here and in our test with the two cats, recently raised its premiums an average of 52 percent in parts of California. The company, which projects payouts of 69 cents of every dollar collected, says it adjusts premiums according to veterinary inflation and the scope of available treatments.

When will my pet insurance premiums increase? - Trupanion Blog | Pet Health & Care Advice - http://is.gd/3P28rH

"With Trupanion, premiums may periodically change to reflect the cost of veterinary care in your region, but rates will never be increased due to the aging of your pet or for filing claims. . . To ensure that Trupanion can keep paying out on the latest veterinary technology, we must periodically adjust our policyholder premiums. This may happen every 1 and a half to 2 years during the life of your pet."

56 Responses to When will my pet insurance premiums increase?

"While I understand that premiums increase, it is ridiculous that the insurance for my dog has gone up 35% this year. . . Trupanion needs a lesson in business management, and should not be punishing the clients who have stayed with you through the 10 – 15% increases over the past 5 years."

"I currently pay $39.47/month for my dog’s insurance. I just received an e-mail stating that his premium is going up to $100.19/month. That is a 255% INCREASE!!!!!"

". . . What I don’t understand is 1) How can you justify increasing my monthly premium from $31 to $56/mo? Do you have supporting data to justify this much of an increase? Have vet costs increased by over 70% over the last 1.5-2 years? 2) Please explain why when I requested for a quote by entering my area code, pet’s age and breed, the premium came up to be $33/mo. (keeping the same deductible)?"

"I just got notice my rate will increase from $41.91 to $161.63… that’s almost 400%!!! A similar reason was given – that it’s due to increased expenses in my area – but that level of increase is unacceptable and I don’t believe the reason. Because the increases from customer to customer vary so much 35%, 39%, 255%, 400%!"

"Although my premiums went up by a PALTRY 42% compared to some of my peers on this thread, I am still shocked and suspicious of this practice."

"On my first anniversary with Trupanion, I too have been hit with a 39% rate increase."

"Joined with my golden retriever puppy in August 2010 with understanding inflationary increases every 1 1/2 to 2 years to reflect overall costs of veterinary care . 86% increase as I approach my first renewal!"

From petinsurancereview.com

"I've had Trupanion for just over a year, and I received an email today saying that my premium was going to DOUBLE! I've never submitted a claim and am signed up for automatic deductions so I've never missed/been late with a payment."

"I purchased Trupanion Pet Insurance after asking a list of questions..One was, Will Rates Increase when my pet ages? I was assured by the Trupanion that rates would never increase as my pet ages. They might have minor rate increases for all members of only 5% every year or two. Not more than that she assured me. Less than a year later Trupanion increased my rates 25%."

"I have been with Trupanion (formerly VetInsurance for about 2 1/2 years. I have found their claim processing to be very timely and have never had a problem with them denying my claim. But, my premiums started at about $37/month and have gone up every year. The latest increase is from $47 to $58. And, my vet clinic has not increased their costs, so I find it hard to believe that these premium adjustments have nothing to do with either my pet aging or claims I have made."

"I used my insurance for the first time last week, submitted my claim and in return my premium increased from $44.00 month to $77.00 per month."

"Today I recieved in my inbox that their rates are going up. Not just going up, but going up by 3X. My same coverage will now cost $93.85. Their reasoning increases in medical expenses."
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Some feedback on Healthy Paws premium increases from petinsurancereview.com":

"I'm very disappointed, I have had my two greyhounds insured with Healthy Paws for almost a year and I have never made a claim for either of them. I switched from Trupanion as they wanted to raise their rates by 33% each (again, never needed to make a claim with them). I was in contact with a Healthy Paws representative who indicated that they would typically only raise rates in the 5 - 7% range for each hound. That seemed reasonable. This week I received an email from Healthy Paws indicating that each dog would receive a rate increase of 14%. I am extremely disappointed with Healthy Paws.

"I just received my first renewal notice and was disappointed that my rate was increased more than 15 %. I understand why rates increase but feel Healthy Paws was deceptive in the assertions made on its website that premiums would only "slightly" increase on an annual basis. When questioned, a customer service representative stated That they hope to keep premiums under 10% but had to raise them higher due to an unusual claims this year."

"I still like Healthy Paws, they are super fast to mail you your check once your file a claim. And their customer server has been stellar. But since we joined a little over 2 years ago our premium has gone up over 30%!"


Despite these increases most reviewers seem to feel Healthy Paws' premium increases are reasonable and in fact many of them left Trupanion because they felt the increases were high and unjustified.

My conclusion: there's as much smoke and mirrors in pet insurance marketing as there is in pet food marketing. Companies are trying to distinguish themselves in a competitive market. Like pet foods, despite the claims and the almost religious fervor with which consumers defend their choice, the "better" insurance companies are more alike than dissimilar, including their actual practices in raising premiums.

Based on my most recent "research," Healthy Paws seems roughly equivalent to Pet Plan, with the edge on benefits (for us) going to PP. I seriously doubt their premiums would come out to be *much* lower over a period of say, ten years, but I'd welcome some input from someone who has *actually been with HP for five-ten years and made substantial claims*.

Given what people have to say about Trupanion I am awarding them the first Annual Blue Buffalo Smoke and Mirrors Award.

Bill Bishop, CEO of Blue Buffalo: "You can get into the market small with contract manufacturers making the stuff,” he says, displaying an easy candor. “Slap on a good label, come up with a slogan, and off you go,” he says. “There were already a lot of smoke and mirrors in how pet food was advertised, and that was the sort of stuff we were good at.”
 

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Some feedback on Healthy Paws premium increases from petinsurancereview.com":

"I'm very disappointed, I have had my two greyhounds insured with Healthy Paws for almost a year and I have never made a claim for either of them. I switched from Trupanion as they wanted to raise their rates by 33% each (again, never needed to make a claim with them). I was in contact with a Healthy Paws representative who indicated that they would typically only raise rates in the 5 - 7% range for each hound. That seemed reasonable. This week I received an email from Healthy Paws indicating that each dog would receive a rate increase of 14%. I am extremely disappointed with Healthy Paws.

"I just received my first renewal notice and was disappointed that my rate was increased more than 15 %. I understand why rates increase but feel Healthy Paws was deceptive in the assertions made on its website that premiums would only "slightly" increase on an annual basis. When questioned, a customer service representative stated That they hope to keep premiums under 10% but had to raise them higher due to an unusual claims this year."

"I still like Healthy Paws, they are super fast to mail you your check once your file a claim. And their customer server has been stellar. But since we joined a little over 2 years ago our premium has gone up over 30%!"


Despite these increases most reviewers seem to feel Healthy Paws' premium increases are reasonable and in fact many of them left Trupanion because they felt the increases were high and unjustified.

My conclusion: there's as much smoke and mirrors in pet insurance marketing as there is in pet food marketing. Companies are trying to distinguish themselves in a competitive market. Like pet foods, despite the claims and the almost religious fervor with which consumers defend their choice, the "better" insurance companies are more alike than dissimilar, including their actual practices in raising premiums.

Based on my most recent "research," Healthy Paws seems roughly equivalent to Pet Plan, with the edge on benefits (for us) going to PP. I seriously doubt their premiums would come out to be *much* lower over a period of say, ten years, but I'd welcome some input from someone who has *actually been with HP for five-ten years and made substantial claims*.

Given what people have to say about Trupanion I am awarding them the first Annual Blue Buffalo Smoke and Mirrors Award.

Bill Bishop, CEO of Blue Buffalo: "You can get into the market small with contract manufacturers making the stuff,” he says, displaying an easy candor. “Slap on a good label, come up with a slogan, and off you go,” he says. “There were already a lot of smoke and mirrors in how pet food was advertised, and that was the sort of stuff we were good at.”
My research and my experience with Trupanion is different in that Healthy Paws is much more like Trupanion than Pet Plan. There are a few differences as each plan has a different wrinkle of course.
 

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I purchased Healthy Paws for my new puppy. So many choices out there! I went with their $100 deductible and 90% reimbursement.
 

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Some feedback on Healthy Paws premium increases from petinsurancereview.com":

"I'm very disappointed, I have had my two greyhounds insured with Healthy Paws for almost a year and I have never made a claim for either of them. I switched from Trupanion as they wanted to raise their rates by 33% each (again, never needed to make a claim with them). I was in contact with a Healthy Paws representative who indicated that they would typically only raise rates in the 5 - 7% range for each hound. That seemed reasonable. This week I received an email from Healthy Paws indicating that each dog would receive a rate increase of 14%. I am extremely disappointed with Healthy Paws.

"I just received my first renewal notice and was disappointed that my rate was increased more than 15 %. I understand why rates increase but feel Healthy Paws was deceptive in the assertions made on its website that premiums would only "slightly" increase on an annual basis. When questioned, a customer service representative stated That they hope to keep premiums under 10% but had to raise them higher due to an unusual claims this year."

"I still like Healthy Paws, they are super fast to mail you your check once your file a claim. And their customer server has been stellar. But since we joined a little over 2 years ago our premium has gone up over 30%!"


Despite these increases most reviewers seem to feel Healthy Paws' premium increases are reasonable and in fact many of them left Trupanion because they felt the increases were high and unjustified.

My conclusion: there's as much smoke and mirrors in pet insurance marketing as there is in pet food marketing. Companies are trying to distinguish themselves in a competitive market. Like pet foods, despite the claims and the almost religious fervor with which consumers defend their choice, the "better" insurance companies are more alike than dissimilar, including their actual practices in raising premiums.

Based on my most recent "research," Healthy Paws seems roughly equivalent to Pet Plan, with the edge on benefits (for us) going to PP. I seriously doubt their premiums would come out to be *much* lower over a period of say, ten years, but I'd welcome some input from someone who has *actually been with HP for five-ten years and made substantial claims*.

Given what people have to say about Trupanion I am awarding them the first Annual Blue Buffalo Smoke and Mirrors Award.

Bill Bishop, CEO of Blue Buffalo: "You can get into the market small with contract manufacturers making the stuff,” he says, displaying an easy candor. “Slap on a good label, come up with a slogan, and off you go,” he says. “There were already a lot of smoke and mirrors in how pet food was advertised, and that was the sort of stuff we were good at.”
When we were deciding on a plan for our new pup, I asked the rep about potential increases and while she could understandably not give a specific percentage, she did say indicate what drives any increases, which is besides the cost of inflation, any increases locally in claims and/or increased vet costs. We are only 6-months into our policy with healthy Paws so no premium renewal experience with them yet, but i can tell you with Trupanion over 6 years the increase has been minimal, 1 year we even had a small decrease. I mention our experience with trupanion because Healthy Paws operates similarly and Trupanion initially indicated to me exactly the same criteria as Healthy Paws indicated for potential increases.
 
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