Last updated on June 28th, 2021 at 11:05 pm
As a pet parent, you probably know that a visit to the vet can end up being quite a costly affair. More often than not, the amount you’ll pay to treat your beloved pet is more than you anticipated or more than you can afford, forcing you to put a price on your family’s members’ life.
Until now, your only option to cushion against these unexpected expenses has been buying a pet insurance plan. Like typical human health insurance plans, these cover your pet against accidents or illness, but require a hefty monthly premium. Depending on the plan, this could also be somewhat expensive, but considering what the typical cost of a vet visit, pet insurance is often worth it.
That said, there are a few alternatives to pet insurance as well. Eusoh is a newer platform that lets you join thousands of other pet lovers and, as a community, contribute to each other’s veterinary costs.
With Eusoh, the maximum monthly contribution per dog or cat is capped at $65, and if no one has incurred any veterinary fees in a given month, the cost is just the base membership fee of $17.
But is it the best alternative to pet insurance? Let’s take a deeper look at pet insurance in general to see how Eusoh’s alternative stacks up.
How Does Traditional Pet Insurance Work?
Before looking at Eusoh in detail and if it’s the best alternative to pet insurance, let’s first recap what traditional pet insurance is and what it costs.
What is Pet insurance?
Pet insurance is a specific insurance policy that you buy to help pay for the overall veterinary costs should your pet get hurt or become ill. It works much like health insurance policies for humans and, as such, covers expensive veterinary procedures.
Keep in mind, though, that just like with health insurance for humans, you’ll usually have to pay a deductible every time your pet receives treatment. Pet insurance is typically an annual plan, and you have the option to renew every year.
What are the types of pet insurance?
There are generally three types of pet insurance that you can choose, depending on your requirements. These are:
- Accident-only plans. These plans are usually less expensive, but it’s important to remember that they don’t cover any illness. So, for example, if your pet breaks a bone, an accident-only plan will cover medications and hospitalization if necessary. In contrast, in cases of illness, you’ll have to pay the costs of medication and treatment.
- Accident and illness plans. These plans cover anything from accidents to hospitalization and illnesses like cancer, hereditary diseases, and congenital conditions. Because they offer the most complete coverage you can get, they’re also the most prevalent, with about 98% of pet insurance plans being accident and illness plans.
- Wellness or routine care add-ons. These plans offer preventative care for your pet, and they’re usually offered as add-ons to other plans.
What does pet insurance typically cover?
When you decide to buy a comprehensive accident and illness pet insurance plan, you’ll typically get coverage for the following:
- Accidents like broken bones, torn ligaments, and even the ingestion of poison or toxins.
- Illnesses like cancer, arthritis, infections, and many other illnesses.
- Hereditary and congenital diseases like heart disease and hip dysplasia.
- The option to add a wellness plan for extended coverage.
- Prescription foods, supplements, and medications.
- Chronic conditions like diabetes.
- Alternative therapies.
That said, keep in mind that pet insurance generally doesn’t cover pre-existing conditions, specific preventative or elective procedures, grooming, and other expenses not related to veterinary care.
How much does traditional pet insurance cost on average?
The average monthly cost for pet insurance is roughly $22 a month for accident-only coverage for dogs. For cats, accident-only coverage costs about $16 a month.
For more comprehensive plans that offer broader coverage, these costs can go up to $80+ per month for dogs.
The actual cost you will pay for pet insurance will depend on:
- The type of pet.
- Its age.
- Its breed.
- Its health status and history.
- Your location.
In addition to your monthly premium, remember that most plans also require you to pay a deductible every time your pet gets treatment. These deductibles can vary widely based on the specific policy you buy.
Pros of Pet Insurance
The most significant advantage of pet insurance is that it covers you in the case of an accident or illness. Considering that a pet’s X-ray costs between $150 and $250. And a one or two days stay in the pet hospital can cost anything between $600 and $1700; it can really make a difference.
Apart from this it also has several other benefits:
- It’s simple. Compared to human health insurance, pet insurance is far simpler. There are no complicated health plans and tiers to understand
This makes it easier to compare similar plans and find the right plan for your pet and your budget.
Unlike human health insurance, some pet insurers don’t have network providers, so you can generally go to any vet you want. And you don’t have to worry about the vet not accepting your plan.
With these pet insurers, you typically pay and submit your invoice, and the insurer will sort it out.
- It’s affordable. Pet insurance premiums are usually relatively low, especially when your pet is young and healthy. The deductibles are also reasonably priced.
- It ensures better care for pets. When people have pet insurance, they’re more likely to seek medical care for their pets than those who don’t.
Cons of Pet Insurance
Unfortunately, as with many things in life, there are also drawbacks to pet insurance. These include:
- Recurring cost. One of the most common complaints with pet insurance is the recurring monthly or yearly costs.
- Upfront payment. Another common complaint of pet insurance is that it requires that you pay the full amount upfront.
The pet insurance company then reimburses you, and, depending on your deductible, the amount you’ll get back varies.
- Maximum Benefits. Regardless of what plan and provider you choose, you’ll have a maximum benefit each year. So, if a few unfortunate accidents happen or your pet has recurring health problems, you may end up paying part of the bills out of your pocket.
What are the alternatives to traditional pet insurance?
Now, for those who find pet insurance too expensive but don’t want to be caught off guard with expensive vet bills, the question is: what’s a better alternative?
Some of the most popular alternatives are:
- Credit. When you use credit to pay your veterinary bills, the bills are spread out over time, eliminating expensive one-time payments.
Keep in mind, though, that you’ll pay interest, so it may end up costing you a lot more.
- Financial assistance programs. These programs are typically funded by grants or private donations to help pet owners in need pay for their veterinary costs.
- Savings plans. You can consider setting up a savings plan for your veterinary costs. While it can be challenging to set up a savings plan for unexpected medical expenses, setting one up for expected costs makes sense.
- Discount programs. Discount programs like Pet Assure give you a discount of up to 25% on veterinary services, provided that the veterinarians and retailers are in their network.
- Telemedicine. This option is probably the newest alternative to traditional pet insurance. Telemedicine offers you a wide range of virtual care options that you can access 24 hours a day. These services are often cheaper than in-person vet visits, but what happens when there’s an emergency?
That’s where Eusoh comes in.
What Is Eusoh, and how does it work?
Eusoh is a community-based health sharing plan that reimburses you part of your pet’s medical expenses. It spreads the financial burden of pet care across a broader pool of owners, much like traditional insurance, but for a lot less.
How To Join Eusoh
The first thing you should do when joining the Eusoh community is signing up. Once you’ve created an account, you’ll be taken to your dashboard that looks like this:
Once you’ve entered the details of your pet and added an avatar, you can click on FINISH. This will take you to the next screen, where you’ll indicate whether your pet is taking any medications or whether it has any pre-existing conditions. You’ll acknowledge that routine expenses and those for pre-existing conditions are not sharable, and then you’ll see an option to join a group.
You have now joined Eusoh, added a pet, and joined a group. After an initial waiting period of 30 days, you’ll be able to submit a medical expense to Eusoh for reimbursement, and it’s just that simple!
How to make a claim with Eusoh when your pet needs care
- Go to your vet and pay for the vet’s services upfront.
- Submit your invoice and receipt to the community for reimbursement by simply taking a photo.
- Your reimbursement will be based on the national average pricing plus a variance to account for differences in your local community. This ensures that community members don’t abuse the system by submitting larger than reasonable expenses.
The fine print: Things to note about Eusoh’s alternative to pet insurance
- There are 2 types of groups when you join Eusoh, Eusoh moderated groups and self-selected groups.
- Eusoh moderated groups don’t accept pets with existing medical conditions.
- When you request to join a self-selected group, members will vote whether to admit or reject your pet within 24 hours.
- Members in Eusoh moderated groups don’t have voting rights. Admission is determined by Eusoh’s admins.
- You can change groups without a penalty if you have been in a group for 1 year. If you’d want to change groups before 1 year is over, you will lose your initial contribution.
- If no group is willing to accept your pet, there is an option to ask for a refund.
- You can start your own group with friends and neighbors, provided you have at least 10 members.
- Members of a self-selected group cannot kick out an existing member.
- Group information is public. When joining Eusoh, you can see a list of all groups and the pets in that group. On top of that, you can see how much each pet has contributed and their total expenses. This information is critical when choosing a group.
- Each pet is counted as a single member. You will have to pay a $17 membership fee and $48 cost care contribution when joining.
- If you have more than one pet in a group, each pet will contribute to reimburse the other member’s vet expenses.
What exactly does Eusoh cover and what isn’t?
When you join Eusoh, you get coverage for the following:
|What’s covered||Non-reimbursable expenses|
How much does Eusoh cost?
Now, on to one of the most important questions, how much does Eusoh cost? The Eusoh monthly fee consists of two parts. The first is the membership fee of $17 a month. You’ll have to pay this minimum monthly fee for each pet that you register on the platform.
In addition to your monthly membership fee, you’ll pay a care contribution in respect of every pet. This amount ranges between $0 and $48 a month and fluctuates depending on the total amount of expenses claimed by other members in your group.
This means that if there are many reimbursement claims by the members, your entire $48 will be shared to help offset other members’ expenses. An in such a month, you will spend $65 total ($48 + $17).
However, if there are fewer claims and, for example, only $15 out of your $48 contribution is used to offset member’s vet expenses, your total monthly cost will be $17 + $15 = $32. The next month you will pay a $17 membership fee and another $30 to top up your contribution to $48.
According to Eusoh, the average for dogs is about $30 to $35 per month, while the average for cats is about $10 to $15 per month. Remember, you’ll never pay more than your monthly membership fee plus your care contribution. In other words, the maximum you will ever spend in a month is $65 per pet.
After paying $17 and $48 for every pet, you’ll get the following coverage, considering the specific coverage described above:
- You’ll get an 80% reimbursement on each of your vet expenses.
- This is an annual maximum limit of $8500 for expenses that you’ll be able to claim.
- A $250 annual out-of-pocket deduction before starting to get reimbursements.
- No premiums.
In addition, FirstVet telehealth services are now included as part of your coverage. As a result, you’ll be able to access these services 24 hours a day to cover:
- Ear and eye problems.
- Skin problems.
- Coughing, sneezing, and poisoning.
- General health questions, including nutrition and exercise.
To access the complimentary telehealth consultations, download the free FirstVet app and register. From there, you can enjoy the on-demand video consultation free of charge.
Differences and Similarities Between Pet Insurance and Eusoh
|Model||Community-based subscription model||Health insurance policy|
|Fixed Monthly Payments||No (Except the $17 membership fee for every pet)|
|Network with other pet owners|
|Veterinary||Any vet||Some providers have a vet network|
|Annual Out of Pocket||$250||Averages $250|
|% Reimbursement||80%||Averages 80%|
|Monthly Spend||Max of $65||Depends on the company and plan|
|Annual Maximum Reimbursement||$8500||Depends on the company and plan|
|Transparent pricing structure|
|Illness Waiting Period||30 days||14 to 30 days|
|Type of pets||Dogs and cats only||Depends on the company|
Pros and Cons of Eusoh: Is a community health sharing plan worth it?
Eusoh Reviews: What are pet owners saying?
Eusoh has a solid offering for people looking for a pet insurance alternative, but don’t just take our word for it; let’s look at customer reviews online to see what active users are saying about their experience.
Generally, the Eusoh reviews are promising, with an emphasis on its transparent pricing model, convenience and affordability as well as their responsiveness. This customer points out its fantastic customer service while also acknowledging that costs for coverage won’t increase as their pet ages.
Another customer who’s been a Eusoh member for over a year mentioned that their reimbursement requests were reviewed and paid quickly:
And finally, this customer loves that Eusoh provides a unique alternative to pet insurance and says that they will recommend the service to their friends and family.
The Verdict: Is Eusoh a legit alternative to pet insurance?
So, does Eusoh offer a legit alternative to pet insurance? Well, let’s look at some of the pros. For one, it provides you with comprehensive coverage for illness, injury, and wellness. Other benefits include a predictable cap on monthly expenses for the ability to visit any vet you want, whenever the need arises.
For some a drawback is that the monthly amount differs from month to month but, fortunately, not by much. While you have to wait 30 days before you can make your first claim, Eusoh’s process for reimbursing expensive vet bills is fast, easy, and painless.
Ultimately, Eusoh is a legit alternative to traditional pet insurance, and we certainly recommend it to proactive pet owners fearful of getting stuck with pet care bills, but equally scared of high monthly premiums of traditional insurance. Click below to check them out and sign up for an account.