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How Do I See a Specialist If I Have Pet Insurance?

By: Dr. Debra Primovic

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How do I see a specialist if I have pet insurance?

At times your pet might require the services of a highly trained (and often very expensive) specialist for their healthcare. Are these costs covered with pet insurance plans? How do you ensure these charges are covered? Today I want to answer that question for you.

I interviewed the 14 North American based pet insurance companies with this question in mind and discovered that in all of them, you are free to visit any vet you want and expect your benefits to apply to qualified claims. That goes for specialists as well as general veterinarians.

If you do want to use your pet insurance benefits on a specialist, how do you do that?

The best plan is to see your regular vet for a referral and their recommendations for local specialists. The benefit of this is that your veterinarian can transfer any history, test results and records to the specialist so they can better treat your pet. Doing so can also prevent you from possibly repeating tests that have already been done. When specialists receive a new patient they often discuss the animal's history with their primary caregiver and discuss any past or future treatment.

However, you don't HAVE to go through your regular veterinarian to see a specialist. It is possible to directly make an appointment with the specialist without a referral and still be covered by pet insurance. It is important to know what type of specialist you need (e.g. ophthalmologist, surgeon, oncologist, cardiologist, internal medicine specialist) and to research your options before selecting one.

Once you know what services you need, the next step is setting up an appointment. You will be responsible for paying all charges incurred at that visit and will need to submit a claim to your pet insurance provider just like claims with a general veterinarian.

I hope this article has helped you understand whether you can see a specialist using pet insurance.

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