Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Pet Insurance

After Hal Ziegler, a self-employed consultant, received the now infamous rate increase letter from Anthem Blue Cross, he called up the pet insurance company that covers his dog, Charlie. After all, for $37 a month VPI has paid for vaccinations plus a trip to the emergency room for the golden doodle (pictured at left). The company pays claims promptly and without fuss.

So Ziegler asked if he could get a policy too.

“They laughed,” said Ziegler, 47, of Mission Vieo. “I knew what the answer would be but in reality I wasn’t joking.”

Ziegler and his wife have had individual Blue Cross policies for nine years. Hers went up 28 percent last year and his is going up by 34 percent. He mailed his check over the weekend, even though Blue Cross agreed to hold off on the increase at the request of Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner.

But Ziegler can’t get through to customer service to find out what’s going on. Additionally, Blue Cross denied his application for a cheaper high-deductible plan because he’d seen a podiatrist within six months for an ankle injury.

Ziegler said he’s fine and back to running 25 or 30 miles a week. He said he and his wife can barely afford the roughly $500 a month they pay now for the coverage, but feel they have no choice.

“One one of our greatest fears is to be in a catastrophic medical emergency,” he said.

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