There’s no doubt that at times, the cost of veterinary care is more than you planned for — especially when a pet needs surgery, or develops a serious illness that requires lots of diagnostics and possibly hospitalization. As if it isn’t enough to grapple with the emotional stress of a sick pet, we know that grappling with the financial implications of funding treatment can be equally distressing.
At Lake Road Animal Hospital, we’re sensitive to the very personal nature of financial decision-making that accompanies your pet’s medical treatment. We know that every situation and every family is different, and that often requires tailoring treatment plans and payment options to your particular needs.
The team at Lake Road is here to help you weigh the pros and cons of your pet’s various treatment options, and determine how to best manage the financial impact on your budget.
To that end, we offer several payment options that can accommodate the needs of the majority of our clients, when paying in full out-of-pocket is an obstacle to appropriate treatment.
Traditional Financing through Care Credit:
If your current credit cards, cash, or personal loans aren’t sufficient to cover the cost of your pet’s veterinary procedure, you can apply for a supplemental line of credit through Care Credit.
Care Credit provides financing options specifically for health-related expenses, including veterinary costs. You must apply and be approved for a line of credit. Applications for credit can be processed quickly here in our office, or you may choose to apply online yourself. This is a good option if your pet is scheduled for an upcoming procedure; you can apply and get approval prior to your pet’s appointment.
Lake Road offers several types of plans through Care Credit:
- 6 Months Deferred Interest
Eligible transactions must be over $200.
Balance must be paid in full within 6 months, otherwise 26.99% interest is charged on the original balance. Be sure that your minimum monthly payment will allow you to pay off your full balance within 6 months.
- Extended Payment Plans
For amounts exceeding $1000, there are payment plan options available for 24, 36 or 48 months, at 14.90% interest. For amounts exceeding $2,500, 60 month financing is available at 14.90% interest.
For each of these plans, Care Credit charges Lake Road Animal Hospital a 5% transaction fee on the total invoice. Lake Road is not affiliated with Care Credit and is not involved in determining credit terms nor the amount approved for financing.
Click here to apply for financing through Care Credit. You can apply anytime, not just when you’re facing a costly surgery or emergency. In fact, we recommend applying in advance if at all possible, so you will be better prepared financially if your pet requires care that exceeds your immediately available resources.
[A good rule of thumb to keep in mind: if at all possible, plan ahead to have immediate access to about $1,000 for unexpected veterinary expenses. $1000 can often cover the low end of estimated costs at an emergency veterinary hospital, and should be sufficient to initiate care, while giving you some extra time to gather additional resources if necessary.]
Installment Payments and Pet Savings Accounts Through VetBilling:
Occasionally, traditional financing through Care Credit isn’t a viable option for some clients. If you’re already highly leveraged, or in the midst of financing a home or auto mortgage, opting to enroll in an installment payment plan through VetBilling is a possible solution.
VetBilling payment plans are available on a limited basis for established clients only, and a soft credit check is required. What this means is that the credit inquiry made will not show up on your credit report or negatively impact your credit score, unlike a traditional credit check might (as with Care Credit.)
Approval for a VetBilling payment plan is subject to the discretion of Lake Road Animal Hospital’s management team, based on the results of your credit screening.
Pending approval, VetBilling payment plans are typically available for 3 or 6 months. There is a $25 one-time enrollment fee, and your balance will be divided into equal payments which will be automatically drafted from your checking, savings, or credit card account. A $3 service fee is added to each recurring installment payment, until your balance is paid in full.
You may select either a monthly or bi-weekly automatic draft (if bi-weekly, your account will be drafted every other Wednesday.)
There is no additional interest charged on your VetBilling payment plan, and no penalty if you elect to pay off your balance early.
Late or missed payments are subject to additional fees and penalties. In the event that VetBilling drafts your account and you have insufficient funds or a charge is declined, VetBilling will contact you to arrange a follow-up draft. Any late fees assessed are determined by VetBilling, and accounts in default will be reported to the credit bureaus.
Pet Savings Accounts through VetBilling
The best way to finance costly or unexpected veterinary expenses is to be prepared ahead of time. VetBilling offers Pet Savings Accounts that allow you to set aside funds that are dedicated exclusively to paying for veterinary care. You can choose the amount you’d like to set aside each month (we recommend a minimum of $25, but you can choose any amount.)
VetBilling will draft your checking, savings or credit card account on a monthly basis, and your accumulated funds will be held as a credit balance on your account at Lake Road Animal Hospital. Those funds can be used toward any medical services or retail products offered here at our hospital.
If you have further questions or would like to enroll in a Pet Savings Account, contact our office at 607-733-6503. There is a one-time $15 enrollment fee, and an additional $1 service charge is added to each monthly payment. (For example, if you choose to set aside $30 each month, your account will be drafted in the amount of $31.00.) Your savings account will automatically renew each year, at no additional cost. You may cancel your savings account drafts at any time, by providing 30 days notice to VetBilling.
Pet Insurance through Trupanion:
Pet insurance is another great option for pet parents who want to eliminate worries about the ability to pay for costly or unexpected veterinary care.
If you are a policyholder with Trupanion, Lake Road Animal Hospital can accept reimbursement payments directly, so you aren’t on the hook for the upfront cost and a delay in getting reimbursed. Instead, you are financially responsible for paying your deductible or co-pay; the remaining balance will be directly remitted to us via Trupanion’s Vet Direct Pay option.
If you use a pet insurance carrier other than Trupanion, we’re happy to assist you in filling out and filing your claim forms.
If you haven’t yet looked into pet insurance, we encourage you to visit Pet Insurance Review, a comprehensive resource where you can find detailed information about how pet insurance works, and how plans from various carriers compare.