Pets, like humans, occasionally get sick and have accidents. When they do, they will need veterinary attention, which sometimes includes X-rays, MRIs, and other “diagnostic imaging.” The problem is that diagnostic imaging, especially MRIs, can cost a small fortune, which is why many pet owners take out an insurance policy on their pets.
If you’re considering a policy from MetLife Pet Insurance, you might wonder if they cover the cost of X-rays, MRIs, or other imaging. The answer is that if you have MetLife’s core coverage plan and have met all of the terms of your policy, X-rays, MRIs, and other diagnostic imaging is covered 100%. Be aware, however, that pre-existing conditions are excluded.
Knowing that MetLife does cover diagnostic imaging, you may have other questions about what their insurance plans cover, what they exclude, and how to know the difference. What’s considered a pre-existing condition, for example, and do pet insurance premiums go up after a claim? If so, don’t click away! We have answers to these questions, several more, and sound advice on choosing an insurance plan for your pet below.
Why would Your Pet Need an X-Ray, MRI, or Other Diagnostic Imaging?
Diagnostic imaging like X-rays, MRIs, ultrasounds, and CT scans allow veterinarians to diagnose a health problem or condition occurring inside your pet’s body that can’t be seen. For example, say your dog suddenly starts to vomit violently or has diarrhea. You suspect he might have swallowed a plastic piece he chewed off one of his toys.
At your local veterinary clinic, they would likely order an X-ray. Another example would be if your cat were hit by a car and is in severe pain. In this case, an X-ray would tell your vet if she has any broken or shattered bones and which bones need to be fixed and set in a cast.
What Are the Four Types of Diagnostic Imaging Used on Pets?
Besides X-rays and MRIs, there are two other diagnostic images veterinarians rely on to diagnose your pet’s health problem and treat it correctly. They include ultrasounds and CT scans, commonly referred to as “cat scans” (although they have nothing to do with cats, per se). Below we’ll take a quick look at all four diagnostic imaging tools.
The most common type of pet diagnostic imaging, X-rays, are identical to X-rays for humans. With an X-ray machine, low-level radiation is passed through your pet’s body and onto a special X-ray film. When developed, hard (dense) tissue shows up in the film, especially bones, metal, and foreign objects that your pet might have swallowed.
Ultrasound machines use high-intensity sound waves to create a sonogram, which is similar in some ways to an X-ray. However, ultrasound images show soft tissue better. That makes ultrasound imaging excellent for diagnosing heart problems, kidney problems, tumors from cancer, etc.
MRI stands for magnetic resonance imaging and is used if your vet believes your pet has a spinal or brain injury. They can also help detect if your pet has internal bleeding, inflammation, and other health issues that can’t be diagnosed with other tools.
The last diagnostic imaging tool, CT scans, can show internal problems with more clarity and detail, helping vets to diagnose your pet’s health problem more precisely. They are typically used to determine if a bone has been badly fractured and can help pinpoint a blood clot or infection in your pet’s body.
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What Veterinary Care Does MetLife Pet Insurance Cover?
MetLife Pet Insurance is considered one of the best in the insurance industry. Like most insurance, however, it doesn’t cover everything. To give you a quick idea of what it does cover, we compiled a list below in alphabetical order.
Some types of preventative care are covered, but you’re required to add a “wellness care” supplement to your existing policy. These include things like vaccinations, parasite prevention, and microchipping.
Which Treatment Is Not Covered by MetLife Pet Insurance?
Most of the procedures and services excluded by MetLife Pet Insurance are the same exclusions you’ll find with other pet insurance companies.
What Counts as a Pre-Existing Condition in Pets?
We’ve all heard about pre-existing conditions not being covered by pet insurance. The challenge for many pet owners is determining what a pre-existing condition is. Technically speaking, a pre-existing condition is any health problem your pet suffers from before you take out your pet insurance policy or during the 14-day waiting period.
Although a pre-existing condition is usually determined when you seek veterinary care for your pet, it’s not necessary to be diagnosed to be denied. For example, if your vet has never diagnosed your pet with diabetes, the insurance might still deny your claim, as diabetes usually doesn’t happen overnight. Some examples of preexisting conditions your pet might have include cancer, allergies, arthritis, epilepsy, and heart disease.
Can Pre-Existing Conditions Ever Be Covered by Pet Health Insurance?
There are two types of pre-existing conditions; curable and incurable. The former type, curable pre-existing conditions, can usually be covered by pet insurance once your pet has healed. Your pet will need to be symptom-free of the disease or condition and then go through a waiting period before it can be covered.
Most insurance companies will allow coverage once your pet is better and has passed the waiting period. Documentation from your veterinarian would be very helpful in this situation to prove everything. Some examples of curable pre-existing conditions include:
Can You Be Denied Pet Insurance for Pre-Existing Conditions?
Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, insurance for humans can’t be denied due to pre-existing conditions. Regrettably, pet health insurance is not the same. You won’t find any pet insurance companies or policies covering your pet if it has a pre-existing condition. That said, most insurance companies will still cover your pet and exclude the pre-existing condition. If some other health problem unrelated to the pre-existing condition affects your pet, it will still be covered.
Do Pet Insurance Premiums Go Up After a Claim?
Unfortunately, if you make a claim, your pet insurance premiums will more than likely increase. Insurance companies base this increase on statistics, and statistics overwhelmingly show that once a claim has been made, another claim from the same customer is highly likely. You should also know that, when searching for pet insurance, an insurance company will usually charge more if your pet has a history of health problems.
Can You Take Out Pet Insurance After a Diagnosis Has Been Made?
Yes, you can still get pet insurance after your pet has been diagnosed with a specific illness or condition. However, those will be considered pre-existing and thus not covered by your new policy. Also, if your pet is a senior or suffers from a severe chronic condition, some pet insurance companies might limit you to only accidental coverage, not comprehensive coverage.
As sad as it sounds, getting insurance might be impossible if your pet is a senior with an incurable disease. Even if it isn’t, it might not be worth the cost. A younger dog, however, might be worth the price as it could heal and then need coverage for another health problem in the future.
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MetLife Pet Insurance covers X-rays, MRIs, and other diagnostic imaging. These tests and exams are covered under the company’s base policy, so you don’t need extra addendums for coverage. Like all insurance companies, MetLife doesn’t cover pre-existing conditions. If your pet has a pre-existing condition and needs X-rays, MRIs, CT scans, or ultrasounds to treat that condition, they won’t be covered.
We hope the information provided today has been helpful and answered all of your important questions about pet insurance. Just like health insurance for humans, when the day comes that you need pet insurance coverage, you’ll be glad you have it.
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Featured Image Credit: Tima Miroshnichenko, Pexels