Dr. Andrew Lee received his BS in Biochemistry from the University of Illinois-Chicago and then his Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine at the University of Illinois-Champaign-Urbana. As a Chicago area native, he is happy to be helping pets live their best lives in his hometown. Dr. Lee is passionate about forming life-long relationships with clients through education, compassion, trust, and works with owners to be active participants in the healthcare of their pets.
In his free time, Dr. Lee likes to spend time with friends and family, travel, exercise (but no running!), work on cars, fancy a new whiskey, watch movies, try new cuisine, and savor a lazy Sunday afternoon. He lives with Scout (an affectionate and sweet mixed breed dog), Sawyer (a hyperactive schnauzer), and Lego (a mischievous siamese cat).
You can find Dr. Lee helping pets and educating their owners at My Vet Animal Hospital in Bucktown starting this February. My Vet Animal Hospital is an AAHA accredited hospital that is dedicated to providing gold standard medicine with compassion and attention to detail, while providing exceptional customer service. You can also follow Dr. Lee on his instagram @Dr.andrewlee.
We insure ourselves, cars, houses, engagement rings, but why not our pets? As a veterinarian, one of the most difficult parts of my job is having to sacrifice medical care due to financial constraints. It is an avoidable situation that no pet parent wants to be in, but unfortunately occurs on a regular basis. Pet insurance provides us with the confidence that if our loved ones got sick, they would receive the level of care that we want for them. With all of the advances in veterinary care, technology, medicine, and specialty practice, the cost of pet care can get expensive. Every pet parent wants their pets to live long, happy, and healthy lives - Pet insurance helps owners achieve this when (not if) the unexpected occurs.
How do they work?
Most insurance companies offer plans to cover only accidents/illness visits or combined with wellness/preventative care. I recommend accident and illness coverage at minimum for all pets so that owners are prepared to perform the necessary diagnostics and treatments for their loved ones. Common expensive ailments in pets include vomiting and diarrhea, foreign body obstruction (when non-food items block the GI tract), allergies, Cruciate ligament tears, arthritis, heart disease, pneumonia, cancer, toxin ingestion, and trauma. The exception to coverage are pre-existing conditions.
In most situations (unless the clinic has an agreement with the insurance company) full payment will be due at the time of service. Once a claim has been filed, the insurance will reimburse the client after the deductible has been met. The reimbursement and deductible amounts are set by the plan and premium (chosen by you). Many “standard” plans include 80% reimbursement after a $500 deductible, with a $10,000 limit per year. While $10,000 may seem excessive, veterinary bills can easily exceed this amount with specialty veterinary care. The most commonly performed diagnostics include an exam, blood work, and x-rays which can easily exceed $600 in Chicago. Common surgeries such as cruciate ligament repair, or removing a sock from your puppy’s intestines (or bunch of hair ties in a cat) can cost $3000-$6000!
Signing up for a plan is generally very simple. Select a plan, answer basic questions, and submit medical history. A waiting period (typically 14 days) is required for all plans before filing a claim.
What do you need to look out for?
Read the fine print. Double check the terms for pre-existing, congenital, hereditary conditions. How long does the pet need to be enrolled prior to making a claim? Are dental conditions covered? Is prescription food reimbursed? Is holistic medicine, rehabilitation, behavioral medicine included in coverage? What is the policy regarding orthopedic disease, such as cruciate ligament tears?
-Get your pet enrolled as puppies and kittens when they are healthy to reduce risk of declined coverage due to pre-existing conditions.
-Keep in mind pre-existing condition policies if you are switching to a new pet insurance provider. A claim made with one company, may be considered pre-existing when switching providers and future coverage may be denied.
-Some employers that provide insurance for their employees will also cover employee pets.
-Mixed breeds tend to have lower premiums than pure breeds. Because purebred pets have a smaller genetic pool than mixed breeds, they are more prone to hereditary conditions.
-Get pet insurance to help cover those unplanned veterinary expenses, unless you are prepared for hefty veterinary bills.
-For preventative medicine (vaccines, heartworm prevention, etc), the additional wellness/preventative coverage may provide additional savings.
-Enroll your pet for insurance as soon as they are adopted to reduce likelihood of declined coverage due to pre-existing conditions.
-Follow @dr.andrewlee on instagram!
Find Dr. Lee in February at:
REAL DOG MOMS OF CHICAGO
Our goal is to connect dog rescues, dog-friendly businesses & dog lovers. Based in Chicago, Illinois, we host fun events for dogs & humans at great places with all proceeds going to local dog rescues.