Sunday, December 23, 2018

Credit Scores and Healthcare Plans

Pets can decrease stress, reduce depression, raise quality of life, lower anxiety, and even add years to your life. Although some scary, health-related situations can arise with your pet, overall, having a pet keeps you calmer while certainly making life more interesting...and better! 

 But can having pets increase your financial stability?  I certainly believe that.  With a twitch of the nose, and a thump of the feet, Muffin certainly isn't going to expand your wallet.  But it's the commitment to provide Muffin with food, safe and enjoyable housing, and access to medical care that can keep you on the straight and narrow.

I grew up in a middle class economic status that did not transfer to my adulthood, once I moved out on my own.  Through the years, there was one huge barrier after another.  When it seemed like I was almost at the end of the tunnel, and I had finally achieved a graduate degree, lack of experience in my field, lack of overall experience, and the development of a second disability all hit me like a ton of bricks.  As I watched opportunity after opportunity fly out of my grasp, my credit score reached new lows.  It just seemed like something I couldn't control and something that I had to accept.

Enter the least in my mind.  I knew, if I was going to have pets...any pets, things would definitely have to change.  With my two disabilities competing with each other to see which one would be the alpha (lol), and other physical troubles, I made a commitment to lift myself up financially.  Any animal coming into my home would have enough food, health insurance, and a medical emergency fund- in case insurance did not pay for a particular medical problem.  That was exceptions!

Once I made that commitment to my future pets, things just fell into place.  I started approaching my financial difficulties like a person on a mission, instead of someone who had been beaten down by the system.  I contacted some of my creditors, and made plans. And today, only some weeks later, my credit score is up 25 points!  Some potential employers and landlords use credit scores as a measuring stick...fair or not.  Having a higher credit score also increases chances of being able to get a credit card, with a good amount of money on it, that can be used for medical emergencies.

So here's to Muffin and all her friends, "Thank you, thank you, thank you!"
For those of you struggling to provide a stable environment and good healthcare for your pets, these resources may be able to help:

A credit card specifically designed to pay for medical expenses of animals and humans.

Health plans that provide help for small animals (rabbits, guinea pigs, etc.), cats and dogs by lowering your animal's medical bills.

Article about health insurance for rabbits appearing on a website that's about dogs. :-)

Health insurance for rabbits, guinea pigs, other exotic animals, and dogs & cats.  To reach their exotic pet page, click here.

 Helps you keep track of your credit score so that you can get financially healthy.  Provides information for free. 

Tips and Notes
1)  Read insurance information and other healthcare plans carefully.  Don't assume your healthcare plan(s) will be accepted by the animal clinic/hospital you plan to take your pet to.  Don't assume you can combine more than one type of coverage.   Speak to billing offices of the clinic/hospital you plan to take your pet to, and the billing offices of the agencies connected to the healthcare plans you anticipate on using. Ask way in advance.  Don't wait until there is an emergency.

Nationwide states that they are the only insurance agency that extends health coverage to rabbits. Kimberly Alt of the Canine Journal backs up this claim.

2)  Find out if the healthcare agency you are thinking of using for your pet covers medical conditions that are related to a pre-existing condition.    Nationwide expresses that they do not cover pre-existing conditions.  According to Alt, currently, "no pet insurance company covers pre-existing conditions" (2018).

Pet owners who have the Pet Assure plan need not worry about pre-existing and hereditary conditions.  However, this is not an insurance plan and coverage only goes so far as 25% of the cost.  Furthermore, the agency states, "you cannot combine the discount with other discounts or service packages.

 Are there healthcare plans out there, that can be combined with pet health insurance or other pet healthcare plans? Are there any new health insurance companies that actually do cover your pet for pre-existing conditions? Research! Ask questions. Gather good, solid information.

1)  Michigan City Animal Hospital (Oct 3, 20170), How Pets Enhance Our Quality of Life
2) Alt, K. (July 13, 2018), Canine Journal, Best Rabbit Insurance:  Hop Your Bunny Into Coverage Today
3) Nationwide (2018) [conversation with sales rep] 
4) Nationwide, Bird and Exotic Pet Insurance
6)  Robinson, K.M., Web MD, How Pets Help Manage Depression
8)  Oaklander, M. (Apr 6, 2017), TIME, Science Says Your Pet is Good For Your Mental Health