does pet insurance cover cancer?

Does Pet Insurance Cover Cancer? | dog getting examined by veterinarian for treatment
Posted by Jennifer Maniet, DVM on Apr 01 2020

Cancer can be extremely expensive to treat. Thankfully, pet insurance covers cancer to to free your family from the financial stress and give you the power to fight cancer head-on with the best medical care.

Cancer treatments covered by pet insurance

The majority of pet insurance providers cover cancer treatments as part of their standard plan. This includes diagnosing, staging and managing the cancer for the life of your furry best friend.

There are many options for treating cancer, and a veterinary oncologist will develop a plan tailored to your pet’s needs using a combination of the below:

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Sick visit: all related exam fees including oncology consultation fees, ongoing and reexamination fees.

These fees can range from $45-$250 per exam.

Diagnostic and staging tests: blood work, urinalysis, radiographs, ultrasound, computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), fine needle aspiration cytology, biopsy/histopathology, surgery, and anesthesia.

These fees can range from $150-$3,000 per diagnostic.

Cancer treatments: chemotherapy, radiation therapy, surgery, hospitalization, pain medication, antibiotics, anti-nausea medications, physical or laser therapy, follow-up care, care for side effects or complications.

These fees can range from $1,000-$10,000+ per treatment.

Additional diagnostics: repeat biopsy/histopathology, blood work, and imaging used for monitoring.

These fees can range from $150-$3,000 per diagnostic.

Integrative treatments: acupuncture, physical therapy, laser therapy treatments and massage therapy used to support your pet’s treatments.

These fees can range from $60-$200 per session.

Cancer treatments not covered by pet insurance

No pet insurance provider will cover the diagnostics or treatments for health conditions occurring before enrollment or during the waiting periods as these are considered pre-existing conditions. That’s why it’s so important to enroll your pet as soon as possible! If you have a breed that has a higher risk of cancer, make sure you compare providers to find a plan that covers chronic and hereditary conditions.

Average costs of pet cancer treatments

Factors such as where the pet lives, the size of the pet, the type of cancer, the stage of cancer and the course of treatment (how long it takes) will determine how much the cancer treatment costs. Some cancers go into remission, while others require lifelong treatment and monitoring. That can certainly add up!

In fact, the cost of treating cancer in your cat can cost between $1,000 and $2,000 just for the initial diagnosis. 

  • The average cost for lymphoma treatment is $595 for dogs and $437 for cats
  • The average cost for carcinoma treatment is $967 for dogs and $749 for cats
  • The average cost for melanoma treatment is $899 for dogs and $1,310 for cats
  • The average cost for mast cell tumor treatment is $782 for dogs and $551 for cats.

To give you a better idea of how pet insurance can help manage the costs of treating cancer, let’s take a look at some Petplan claims data relating to common cancers in pets and what policyholders typically received in reimbursement:

Average cost of pet cancer treatments

Remember, the eligible reimbursement will depend on the provider and plan you chose.

Unfortunately, there is much we don't know about cancer, making it often difficult to prevent. You may never be emotionally prepared for a cancer diagnosis, but by planning for its financial demands with comprehensive pet insurance, you can improve your pet’s chances of success.

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