Affordable Care Act to affect pet owners too

Published: Mar. 14, 2013 at 12:27 PM EDT|Updated: Mar. 14, 2013 at 12:29 PM EDT
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With less than a year until the major changes of the Affordable Care Act are made, many are wondering how their insurance policies will be effected. But pet owners need to pay attention as well.

You'll find a variety of tools in a veterinary clinic. As it is, they're expensive enough. But soon, could be even more so.

"We do our best to offer affordable care, and when we do that it makes our margins so small," said Scott Peeler, the man in charge at Well Pets in Irmo.

He's worried about what the Affordable Care Act could mean for his 11 employees' health insurance. But that's not his only concern.

"Since it's something that will directly effect our customers our consumers, it's something that we need to be vigilant about," said Peeler.

Peeler's talking about a 2.3 percent tax built into the act that hits manufactures of medical equipment. More than half of whom have said that tax would get passed on to veterinarians and trickle down to pet owners.

Tools and equipment that can only be used on animals are exempt from the tax, but dual-use items that can be used on both people and pets like an anesthesia machine are included.

It's unclear exactly which dual-use items will be included or just how many manufacturers will pass the cost down, but Peeler says his customers notice any change in cost and some times have difficult decisions to make.

"People will take care of their animals as long as they can afford it, and everybody has that line in the sand. It always surprises me what people will and will not spend on their pets," said Peeler.

Peeler will find out when the act goes into full effect next year.

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