Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - How much do Missoulians love their pets?

On any particular day just stop in at any local veterinarian’s office and you’ll see a waiting room full of anxious dog and cat parents waiting to see the doctor.

Now, how do most people pay for that care? Many have pet insurance, in fact, according to a Google search, about half, or 44.6 percent of pet owners stated they currently have pet insurance. On a larger scale, NAPHIA's (The North American Pet Health Insurance Association) 2022 State of the Industry Report found that more than 4.41 million pets were insured in North America in 2021, up from 3.45 million in 2020.

Do You Have Pet Insurance for your Dog or Cat? Millions Do

KGVO reached out to one prominent Missoula veterinarian, Dr. Andy Cross with the Missoula Veterinary Clinic on the Old U.S. 93 to find out about pet insurance.

Dr. Cross was careful to emphasize the difference between health insurance for people and for pets, especially the way it is paid.

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“One of the most important things people need to understand first about pet insurance that it’s different from insurance for themselves,” began Dr. Cross. “With pet insurance, the client still pays the bill at the Veterinary Clinic (at the time of service) and then they take all their receipts and information and they submit it to the insurance company and they receive the reimbursement back to them.”

Pet Insurance is Paid Fore Differently than People Health Insurance

Dr. Cross said there are pet insurance plans for every budget.

“There are a number of different pet insurance companies that are out there and they offer different plans,” he said. “Some plans can be for just common health issues. They can also get plans that cover for instance, orthopedic injuries, so like broken legs or torn cruciate ligaments or things like that. So they can choose different types of plans. They can choose plans with different deductibles which is similar to the human side of health insurance.”

Many Companies offer Pet Insurance as a Perk for Hiring New Employees

Just how popular have pet insurance policies become? Dr. Cross said many employers now offer prospective employees pet health insurance as an incentive to join their team.

“Another interesting thing about pet insurance is many companies now are offering these as benefits to their employees, in that they're giving them either free or discounted pet insurance plans for their employees,” he said. “So a person might want to check with their employer and see if they're offering that because pet insurance is now kind of part of that cafeteria plan being offered to many people as an employee benefit.”

Click here to see many different kinds of pet health insurance plans.

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Gallery Credit: Amber Spencer-Knowles

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