AAHA Pet Insurance Buyer's Guide by cuiliqing



      AAHA Pet InsurAnce

      Buyer’s Guide

                                                                   lthough veterinary fees have jumped in the past
                                                                   decade, pet insurance sales have experienced
  Clients look to you for help                                     sleepy growth. But change may be in the offing.
                                                                   The faltering economy and social pressure to care
   in choosing pet insurance.                                      for pets regardless of cost make pet insurance an
                                                     increasingly attractive option for pet owners and veterinarians.
       Use this head-to-head                            The potential for pet insurance sales is enormous. A recent
                                                     survey done by the American Pet Products Association (APPA)
  comparison to recommend                            found that more than 71 million households in the United States
                                                     have pets, and, according to Statistics Canada, pets are in more
              the right plans.                       than half of the households in that country. But, according to
                                                     Packaged Facts, an independent market research firm, as of
                                by Rick Harmon, MS   2007 there were only 850,000 pet insurance policies in force in
                                                     North America. Clearly, there is much room for growth.
                                                        This guide to pet insurance, which includes the features and
                                                     benefits from the major companies in the industry, will help
                                                     you lead your clients to the best insurance available for them
                                                     and their pets. In addition to providing comparisons of copay-
                                                     ments, coverage for preexisting conditions, premiums and
                                                     so on, this buyer’s guide gives you information about which
                                                     insurance providers have earned AAHA’s Seal of Acceptance.
                                                        The Seal of Acceptance is awarded to insurance providers
                                                     who meet AAHA standards for coverage, including high-deduct-
                                                     ible coverage. Currently, three providers earn this distinction:
                                                     Trupanion, PurinaCare and Petsecure. For more information

Trends magazine, November/December 2009

                                                       about the Seal of Acceptance, go to            Company, which operates supermarkets
                                                       www.healthypet.com/graphics/AAHA_              under various banners across the United
                                                       Accepted_Booklet.pdf.                          States, customers can pick up pet insur-
                                                                                                      ance along with their groceries.

                                                       State of the industry                             Still, most pet owners look to veteri-
                                                                                                      narians for advice about insurance for
                                                          In 2008, according to the APPA, Amer-       their pets. Brakke Consulting in 2008
                                                       icans spent more than $11 billion on their     reported that more than 41% of pet own-
                                                       pets, an 8.5% increase over 2007. Despite      ers surveyed indicated that they would
                                                       the spending, the group reported that          purchase pet insurance if it were recom-
                                                       fewer than 3% of pet owners have insur-        mended by their veterinarian.
                                                       ance policies, although that’s an increase
                                                       from less than 1% in 1995.
                                                          As the United States grapples with the      Why veterinarians fear pet
                                                       issue of health care reform, the possibility
                                                       of a health care crisis also looms for the
                                                       veterinary industry. It goes without say-          Many veterinarians say that they hes-
                                                       ing that costs are rising. According to a      itate to recommend pet health insurance
                                                       study published in 2008 in the Journal of      because they don’t know enough about
                                                       the American Veterinary Medical Associa-       plans and providers to make an informed
     No veterinary professional                        tion, expenditures for veterinary services     recommendation; they fear that, when
                                                       doubled between 1980 and 2005. For cli-        clients are disappointed by the coverage,
     wants any pet to face                             ents who routinely visit their veterinar-      they will blame the veterinarian.
                                                       ian, the increase was almost 125%.                  “I do think that pet insurance is the
     euthanasia, a compromised                            Even as sophisticated medical tech-         wave of the future, but I don’t always
                                                       nologies and realistic fee structures push     recommend insurance to a lot of my cli-
     quality of life or even death                     costs higher, people continue to seek the      ents because I don’t know enough about
                                                       best medical care for their pets. When         all of them and what they have to offer. I
     resulting from an untreated                       you add the effects of a sagging econ-         want to know which ones provide good
                                                       omy, it becomes clear that an increasing       service and are leaders in the industry,”
     illness or injury simply                          number of clients will need and want to        says Mark Romain, DVM, Olathe Animal
                                                       know about pet health insurance.               Hospital, Olathe, Kan.
     because of veterinary costs.                         Despite the need, many clients are              Although he hesitates to recommend
                                                       not aware that pet insurance exists, and       pet insurance, Romain agrees that it
                                                       many veterinary practice owners and            could benefit both pets and clients.
                   —AAHA Seal of Acceptance brochure
                                                       staff are uncomfortable talking to clients         “I do know that my clients want the
                                                       about it. Pet insurance has been avail-        best possible treatment for their pets, and
                                                       able in the United States only since 1982,     for some of them, pet insurance is in their
                                                       and since then, about 30 insurance com-        best interest. If they have insurance, they
                                                       panies have come and gone. Currently,          can consider procedures that are costly
                                                       about 10 companies offer coverage to a         but necessary; it removes the oftentimes
                                                       significant number of clients.                 guilt-ridden decision of saving a pet ver-
                                                          Advertising and promotion to pet own-       sus spending the money,” he says.
                                                       ers have been limited; insurers have mar-          Looming as a larger threat than cli-
                                                       keted their services to veterinarians with     ent blame is the specter of managed
                                                       the intent that staff would recommend          care. Many veterinarians voice concerns
                                                       the plans to clients. That has changed.        about the loss of autonomy in the design
                                                          Some organizations, such as the             and implementation of medical proto-
                                                       American Kennel Club, Petco Animal             cols, use of diagnostic tests and treat-
                                                       Supplies and Del Monte Foods Com-              ment options and choice of practices or
                                                       pany, are beginning to offer pet insur-        specialists for referral.
                                                       ance as an employee benefit. At Kroger             Veterinary medicine isn’t likely to see

                                                                                                               Trends magazine, November/December 2009

an imminent shift to full-fledged man-
aged care, with insurers owning and
operating practices. At present, the trend
is toward nationwide corporate practices,
franchises and small “chains” comprising
fewer than one dozen practices. In such
cases, when parent companies dictate
uniform protocols and standards of care,
they are acting on their own behalf and
are not following an insurer’s dictates.
    Currently, most pet coverage is
indemnity insurance, which reimburses
clients for services after they are ren-
dered. In this system, customers submit
claims directly to the insurer, usually
                                                What AAHA Members Think
after paying the bill at the time of ser-
vice. Rather than dictate diagnostic and        Through two years of recession, veterinary support for pet insurance has remained steady. In a recent Trends
treatment options to veterinarians, the         magazine survey of AAHA members, 91.3% of practices said that they accept pet health insurance. This percent-
insurer simply chooses whether to cover         age remains unchanged since the last time the survey was conducted, in 2007.
certain tests and procedures. If a cus-
tomer dislikes the coverage, he or she          Trends emailed 3,558 surveys to AAHA members to determine their opinions about pet health insurance. Partici-
can switch to another insurer.                  pants completed 482 surveys for a 14% response rate. Respondents included practice owners or medical directors
    Because pet insurance companies             (26.8%), associate veterinarians (19.8%), practice managers (31.6%) and technicians or assistants (21.8%).
reimburse the policyholder rather than the
veterinary practice, there is no risk to the    We asked survey participants if they accept pet health insurance. Of the 482 who responded, 91.3% said that
practice. Most clients are required to pay at   they do. The top reason for accepting pet health insurance was that “pet insurance helps our clients afford our
the time service is rendered; if the insurer    service(s)” (48.4%). Of the 8.7% of respondents who do not accept pet insurance, their top reason for not accept-
denies the claim, it is the client, not the     ing it was “the paperwork would take too much time” (21.4%).
veterinarian, who bears the consequence.
    This is unlike the human health care        When survey participants were asked what methods of payment they recommend to clients, 69.7% said that
system, in which doctors submit claim           they recommend pet insurance, 27.4% said that they recommend personal savings plans, 24.9% said that they
forms and receive reimbursement directly        recommend pet insurance credit cards and 23.7% said that they recommend a hospital-sponsored payment plan.
from the insurer — or are employed by
the insurer.                                    Participants were asked to report their level of agreement with the following statements about pet insurance. This
    Indemnity insurance frees veterinar-        table reports the percentage of participants who agreed with the following statements. The rest of the partici-
ians from direct losses due to insurer          pants strongly disagreed, disagreed or did not know how to respond.
nonpayment, and it provides no incen-
tive for insurers to dictate fee structures
or medical protocols. If veterinarians
                                                   Ensures better care for pets                                                                      76.3%
were to enter into agreements to accept
payment directly from the insurer rather
than from the client, that could set the
                                                   Leads to fewer euthanasias                                                                        62.3%
stage for managed care. To date, how-
ever, that has not happened.                       Saves clients money                                                                               60.3%
    Still, veterinarians can bear the brunt
of a client’s dissatisfaction if the practice      Clients with pet insurance are willing to spend more on their pets’ care                          71.8%
recommends a certain insurance provider
that later denies a customer’s claim. With         Pet insurance is worth the money clients spend                                                    58.3%
each provider offering several plans that
differ in the details, it’s no wonder vet-         Pet insurance is problematic for practices                                                        19.1%
erinarians hesitate to recommend specific
pet insurance options.

Trends magazine, November/December 2009

                                                                      Balancing the complexity of options                       •	 As with any insurance, the risk is
                                                                  against customer needs and the upward                            spread over time and over a large
                                                                  pressure on fees, veterinary practices are                       population, with the assumption that
                                                                  well served to carefully investigate and                         not all insurers will file claims at the
                                                                  compare several insurance options and                            same time.
                                                                  choose the plan, or plans, that will serve                    •	 Insurance companies profit by
                                                                  their clients best.                                              investing most of the cash they
                                                                                                                                   receive as premiums; they hold a

                                                                   Pet insurance basics                                            percentage of the cash in reserve to
                                                                                                                                   pay claims.
                                                                     Learning the basics about pet insur-                       •	 Insurance companies may insure
                                                                  ance is not difficult or time-consuming.                         only a few kinds of pets, charge
                                                                  Beneath the plethora of options, pet                             higher premiums for specific breeds
                                                                  insurance is not complicated. A few gen-                         or treat a preexisting condition on a
                                                                  eral principles apply broadly:                                   onetime basis.
                                                                  •	 A pet insurance company’s policy
                                                                     must be approved and registered in
                                                                     a state before it can be sold in that                      Helping clients choose a plan
                                                                     area, and only licensed agents can                            Investigating the details of pet insur-
                                                                     sell policies.                                             ance is a two-part effort. The veterinar-
     “Pet owners with insurance                                   •	 Most pet insurance companies sell                          ian makes general recommendations,
                                                                     indemnity insurance, or fee-for-                           and clients follow up with their own
     are more involved and                                           service insurance, providing compen-                       investigations to determine which plans
                                                                     sation for accidents or for care cov-                      are best suited for them.
     engaged with their pet's                                        ered by the policy. The policyholder                          This two-part guide offers help for
                                                                     has a contract with the insurance                          both stages of the investigation. Using
     health care.                               —Katie Grant         provider and submits a claim for                           the tables, you can compare insurance
                                                                     reimbursement of costs incurred.                           companies, including where they are

       CareCredit: Another Payment Option for Your Clients
       Only about 3% of pet owners have pet insurance to cover medical bills for their          CareCredit can be used in combination with a pet insurance plan. If a pet needs
       pets. Most clients pay their bills with discretionary income. Many create a sav-         immediate treatment, clients can pay their bill using a CareCredit payment plan,
       ings plan for pet health bills, but most people don’t have the discipline to deposit     then submit an insurance claim. When their reimbursement check arrives from the
       money on a regular basis.                                                                insurance company, they can use it to pay their CareCredit account.

       A viable option is CareCredit, a flexible health care financing program. It works like   With a payment option like CareCredit available for clients who face a cata-
       a credit card but is exclusive for veterinary care as well as for human health care.     strophic illness, big-ticket treatment plan or critical diagnostic procedure, vet-
       CareCredit has been available in the United States for more than 20 years and an         erinary practices can provide the best medicine possible without having to risk
       AAHA-preferred business provider since 1995.                                             practice finances to do it.

       CareCredit offers a wide range of no-interest and interest-bearing payment plans,        CareCredit operates like taking credit cards for practices in that it requires practices
       ranging from periods of three months to five years, financing from $1 to $25,000         to pay a percentage fee to participate. In addition, there is a $20 startup fee. To
       and no up-front costs, prepayment penalties or annual fees.                              find out how to become a CareCredit practice, call 800-300-3046, ext. 4519, or visit

                                                                                                                                               Trends magazine, November/December 2009

licensed, average annual deductibles,                   and understand,” says Katie Grant, vice                   Indemnity insurance
owner co-pays, coverage for preventive                  president of marketing and business
care and caps or other limits on cover-                 development for PetFirst Healthcare, Jef-                 frees veterinarians from
age. With the checklist below, clients                  fersonville, Ind. “We listen to our cus-
can follow up to learn more about what                  tomers on ways we can simplify our                        direct losses due to insurer
a specific plan will and won’t cover,                   products and increase their satisfaction.
including necessary and elective proce-                    “Pet owners are thinking about their                   nonpayment, and it provides
dures, hereditary and congenital defects                own health care these days, and they’re
and preexisting conditions.                             very savvy about what they want cov-                      no incentive for insurers
    Despite — or because of — the appar-                ered for their pets, such as routine care
ent complexity, pet insurance providers                 and coverage for high-tech services.                      to dictate fee structures or
strive for transparency and encourage                   And, since their pets are living longer,
investigation.                                          they’re looking for senior and end-of-life                medical protocols.
    “Pet insurance companies really do                  comfort care,” she adds.
want to make their policies easy to use

                                              Does your                                                              Licensed to
                                               program                                                               provide pet       Licensed to
                                               bear the                                                               insurance        provide pet
                                             AAHA Seal of                           Year began       Pets insured    in all states    insurance in     Claims filed
                 Provider                    Acceptance?       Year founded       selling policies   as of 6/1/09      and D.C.          Canada         annually

Hartville Group Inc. (ASPCA Pet Insurance)                  1997                1998                                                                118,864 (2008)

PetPartners, Inc.                                           2002                2003                                                                Proprietary
for the AKC Pet Healthcare Plan                                                                                                                      information

Pethealth Inc. (24PetWatch Pet Insurance,                   1991                1991                 224,729        Alaska           Portions        89,500 (approx)
ShelterCare Pet Insurance, PetCare Pet                                                                              excluded         of Canada


                        Fo rD
Embrace Pet Insurance                                       2003                2006                 5,000                                          3,200

Pets Best Insurance                                         2005                2006                 36,000                                         Proprietary

                               es o

                        urp os
Petplan Pet Insurance                                       1976 in the UK      2006 in the US       >1 million                                     >300,000

Veterinary Pet Insurance/DVM Insurance                      1980                1982                 472,000                                        1,035,000 (2008)
Agency (VPI)

PetFirst Healthcare                                         2004                2005                 76,000                                         105,000

Trupanion/Vetinsurance                                     1998                2000                 Data not                                      50,000

PurinaCare Pet Health Insurance                            2008                2008                 Confidential   41                               Confidential

Petsecure Pet Health Insurance                             1989 (sold under    1989 (sold under    500,000                                         77,000 (approx)
                                                            a different brand   a different brand   (approx)
                                                            name prior to 2008) name prior to 2008)

Trends magazine, November/December 2009

                                                                                                        Assign one person on your staff to be
                                                    Enlist staff to manage                           the insurance manager. This could be a
                                                    insurance                                        technician or front office staff member.
                                                                                                     The manager stays abreast of changes in
                                                        To make pet insurance most beneficial        the field and in the pet insurance plans
                                                    for your practice, invest in initial investi-    you recommend, presents the changes at
                                                    gations, then keep a finger on its pulse.        staff meetings and creates handouts that
                                                        Review policies from several pet             staff can use in presenting options to cli-
                                                    health insurers and pick two or three            ents. As providers and plans change, the
                                                    that you can actively support. Learn             manager may suggest that the practice
                                                    all you can about these policies. For            change the plans that it recommends.
                                                    each company, select a representative,              Practice staff can be advocates for pet
                                                    such as a customer care representative           health insurance. Those who have such
                                                    or salesperson, whom you can call for            insurance can speak to others about its
                                                    more information.                                benefits and allay doubts about the effort
                                                        Make sure that your staff members            and paperwork involved to file a claim.
                                                    know the benefits of pet insurance — for            “I have a great, professional staff, and
                                                    clients, pets and the practice. Educate          they understand that insurance is in the
                                                    your staff about the insurance plan or           best interest of many of our customers,”
                                                    plans you choose to recommend. Every             notes Romain. “With the pet insurance
                                                    employee should actively encourage cli-          companies that my practice has dealt
                                                    ents to consider pet insurance. (See the         with, the administration and paperwork
                                                    sidebar on page 46 for tips.)                    are minimal.”

     Participating Vendors
     Embrace Pet Insurance            Pethealth Inc.                        Petsecure Pet Health Insurance     PurinaCare Pet Health Insurance
     767 Beta Drive, Suite D          710 Dorval Drive, Suite 400           200-1200 Portage Avenue            PO Box 599500
     Mayfield Village, OH 44143       Oakville, ON L6K 3V7, Canada          Winnipeg, MB R3G 0T5, Canada       San Antonio, TX 78259
     440/386-2406 or 800/511-9172     877/738-4584                          800/268-1169                       866/787-7676
     www.embraceinsurance.com         www.petcareinsurance.com              www.petsecure.com                  www.purinacare.com
     The Hartville Group Inc.         www.unionpluspets.com                 Pet Partners Inc.                  Trupanion/Vetinsurance
     3840 Greentree Avenue SW         www.qcforlife.com                     PO Box 37940                       1148 NW Leary Way
     Canton OH 44706                  www.sharecare.com                     Raleigh, NC 27627                  Seattle, WA 98107
     888/592-7387                     www.petcarepals.com                   866/725-2747                       US: 800/569-7913
     www.hartvillepetinsurance.com    www.metlifepets.com                   www.akcphp.com                     CANADA: 800/930-1019
     www.aspcapetinsurance.com                                                                                 www.trupanionpetinsurance.com
     www.petshealthplan.com           Petplan USA Pet Insurance             Pets Best Insurance
                                      1 International Plaza, Suite 140      2710 Sunrise Rim Road              Veterinary Pet Insurance/
     PetFirst Healthcare              Philadelphia, PA 19113                Boise, ID 83705                    DVM Insurance Agency (VPI)
     350 Missouri Avenue, Suite 100   866/467-3875                          877/738-7237                       PO Box 2344, Brea, CA 92822
     Jeffersonville, IN 47130         www.gopetplan.com                     www.petsbest.com                   800/USA-PETS
     866/937-PETS                                                                                              Veterinarians call: 866/VET-4VPI
     www.petfirst.com                                                                                          www.petinsurance.com

                                                                                                              Trends magazine, November/December 2009

                         Average claim
                          turnaround     Average annual    Pet owner          Premiums raised or                   Coverage for                    Coverage for pre-
       Provider              (days)        deductible       co-pay                reviewed                        preventive care                 existing conditions
Hartville Group Inc.     15              $100/year        20% (based      Rates guaranteed for            In plan levels 3 and 4.            Most are ineligible; some
(ASPCA Pet Insurance)                                     on reimburse-   12-month coverage period.                                          are covered if they are
                                                          ment), after    Number of claims has                                               cured, treatment-free and
                                                          deductible.     no effect on customers’                                            symptom-free for 180 days.
PetPartners, Inc.        12              $125/year        20%             Rates reviewed annually to      80% of eligible preventive costs
for the AKC Pet                                                           ensure tracking with medi-      after $125 annual deductible
Healthcare Plan                                                           cal trends.                     met. Spay/neuter is covered
                                                                                                          under Wellness Plus.
Pethealth Inc.           5–7             $100/year/       10% or 30%      Reviewed annually;              In programs that offer             No, but if the pet has been
(24PetWatch Pet                          medical          (based on       increase may be applied.        Wellness Plan.                     symptom- and treatment-
Insurance, ShelterCare                   condition        reimburse-      Rates do not increase due                                          free for 12 months, coverage
Pet Insurance, PetCare                                    ment).          to age of pet. Rates are                                           may be available.
Pet Insurance)                                                            not necessarily increased

Embrace Pet Insurance    <10 after     Most popular       10%, 20% or     Annually, depending             Optional                           No; until condition is clear for

                         health his-   option:            35%             on veterinary inflation and                                        12 months.
                         tory provided $200/year                          pet age.

                                       Other: $100 or

                           Fo          nly
Pets Best Insurance      0–3             $100/250/500     20%             When raising benefits or                                           Covered once cured,

                                  es o
                                         per incident                     actuarially justified.                                             if curable.

Petplan Pet Insurance    5–10            $50–200/year     0–20%           Increases based on                                                 No coverage for illnesses that

                                                                          veterinary fee inflation and                                       showed clinical signs prior to

                                                                          minimum standard age                                               policy inception or during the
                                                                          increases, not on claims                                           waiting period.
Veterinary Pet         13                $50/incident     10%             As pet ages; not affected by    Two optional wellness riders:      No; except those deemed
Insurance/DVM                                                             claims history.                 CareGuard [SM(service mark)]       cured by a veterinarian. Sup-
Insurance Agency (VPI)                                                                                    Core CareGuard [SM] Premier.       port documentation required.
PetFirst Healthcare      14              $50/incident     10%             Increase at the renewal         
                                                                          period following pet's 10th
Trupanion/               80% within      $0–1,000         10%             Never due to claims history.
Vetinsurance             4 hours                                          Never due to pet aging.
                                                                          Only as it relates to changes
                                                                          in the local cost of veteri-
                                                                          nary medicine.
PurinaCare Pet Health    10              $250/year most   20% after       Increased at 5, 8, 10 years     On PurinaCare with
Insurance                                common           deductible is   of age.                         Preventive Care policy.
Petsecure Pet Health     5               Dog: $100–900/   20%             On policy anniversary date Secure 4 Coverage offers                Preexisting or foreseeable
Insurance                                year                             based on inflation, not pet's comprehensive preventive care,       conditions are excluded.
                                         Cat: $100–500/                   age.                          annual and lifetime wellness
                                         year                                                           care (e.g., vaccinations and
                                                                                                        annual exams).

 Trends magazine, November/December 2009

                             Pets            Caps on                 Practices          Clients pay at                Cost of                           Number
          Provider         covered          coverage              responsible for      time of service               premium                            of plans
     Hartville Group      Dogs       Level 1: $2,500/          Provide client                           Monthly rates start at:             4 plans with increasing
     Inc. (ASPCA Pet      & cats     incident, $8,000/year     records on request.                       Level 1: $7.50 cats, $9.50 dogs     coverage.
     Insurance)                      Level 2: $1,500/                                                    Level 2: $12.50 cats, $17.50 dogs
                                     incident, $8,000/year                                               Level 3: $25.50 cats, $33.50 dogs
                                     Level 3: $3,500/                                                    Level 4: $51.00 cats, $59.00 dogs
                                     incident, $11,000/year
                                     Level 4: $5,000/
                                     incident, $13,000/year
     PetPartners, Inc.    Dogs       Wellness: $5,000/         Complete a section                       Essential Plus: $351–434 dogs       5 plans:
     for the AKC Pet      & cats     incident, $13,000/year    on the claim form.                                        $246–304 cats       Accident Plus: defined list of
     Healthcare Plan                 Essential Plus: $3,000/                                             Wellness Plan: $569–702 dogs        accidents
                                     incident, $11,000/year                                                              $398–491 cats       Essential: accident and illness
                                                                                                         Rate depends on where               Essential Plus: accident and
                                                                                                         customer lives; all breeds rated    illness with higher per-
                                                                                                         equally.                            incident maximum
                                                                                                                                             Wellness: accident, illness and
                                                                                                                                             Wellness Plus: accident,
                                                                                                                                             illness, preventive and spay/
     Pethealth Inc.       Dogs       Per incident or lifetime, Complete a portion     Yes; practices     Premiums depend on species,         16 plans including riders and
     (24PetWatch          & cats     depending on plan.        of the claim form.     may opt to         breed, coverage and limits.         supplemental policies for
     Pet Insurance,                                            Provide medical        receive direct                                         dogs and cats.

     ShelterCare Pet                                           records on request.    electronic

     Insurance, PetCare                                                               payment from
     Pet Insurance)*                                                                  insurer.

                            Fo rD
     Embrace Pet          Dogs       Options $2,000,           Comment on claim       Yes; practices     Varies by plan, breed, pet age      Plans are customizable;

     Insurance            & cats     $5,000, $10,000;          form and clinic        may opt to         and location, spayed/neutered,      108 options.
                                     continuing care limit     stamp. Submit          receive direct     microchipped. Average is $30/

                                   es o
                                     of 25% of annual          health history on      deposit            month dogs.

                                     maximum applies           request.               payment.

                                     to conditions that
                                     continue from a prior

                                     policy period. No
                                     incident or lifetime
     Pets Best Insurance Dogs        $2,500 or $7,000 or       Providing receipt                        Varies with plan, deductible, zip 4 plans: Accident only; Pets
                         & cats      $14,000/incident;         and diagnosis, ten-                       code, breed and species.          Basic; Pets First; Pets Premier.
                                     $42,500 or $100,000/      tative or definitive, is                                                    Wellness/routine care offered
                                     lifetime.                 helpful. Occasionally                                                       as endorsement.
                                                               provide medical
                                                               records if claim may
                                                               be preexisting.
     Petplan Pet          Dogs       $8,000 to $20,000/year Initial the completed     Yes; practices     Average $300/year dogs; varies      Bronze, Silver and Gold Plans
     Insurance            & cats                            claim form. Illnesses     may opt to         with age, breed, geographic         cover accidents and illness
                                                            often require 2 years     receive direct     location and coverage.              with annual limits of $8,000,
                                                            of medical records.       reimbursement                                          $12,000 and $20,000, respec-
                                                                                                                                             tively. All plans customizable
                                                                                                                                             with deductibles.

                                                                                                                                   Trends magazine, November/December 2009

                                                                           the emotional benefits of having a pet
Creating a win-win situation                                               without the fear of financial burden. “Pet
                                                                                                                                                       Make sure that your staff
                                                                           insurance makes it easier for pet owners
   It’s advantageous for both veteri-
                                                                           to budget their expenses, which is a big
                                                                                                                                                       members know the benefits
narians and their clients to be active
                                                                           plus these days,” says Grant. “They like
partners in selecting pet insurance.
                                                                           knowing that when the care is needed,
                                                                                                                                                       of pet insurance — for clients,
“Pet owners with insurance are more
                                                                           the money’s there.” n
involved and engaged with their pet’s                                                                                                                  pets and the practice.
health care,” notes Grant. “They visit                                     Editor’s Note: AAHA does not provide recom-
their veterinarian more often, keep up                                     mendations on pet insurance carriers and is not
with vaccinations and other routine ser-                                   responsible for the accuracy of vendor responses.
vices and are more likely to take advan-                                   Data for the table was collected and finalized in
tage of new, technologically advanced                                      August 2009. Check with individual providers for
                                                                           the most current information about their policies.
   With insurance, pet owners can enjoy                                    Rick Harmon, MS, is a Denver-based freelance writer and editor.

                          Pets                       Caps on                          Practices                  Clients pay at                       Cost of                                     Number
    Provider            covered                     coverage                       responsible for              time of service                      premium                                      of plans
 Veterinary Pet Dogs, cats,             VPI Superior:                          No action.                                              Premium prices vary.                       3 base medical plans, 2
 Insurance/     avian, &                $4,500/incident,                                                                                                                           wellness riders and 1 cancer
 DVM            exotics                 $14,000/policy term                                                                                                                        rider. Company is introducing
 Insurance                              VPI Standard:                                                                                                                              4 new products.
 Agency (VPI)                           $2,500/incident,

                                        $9,000/policy term

 PetFirst             Dogs              Preferred PLUS (per pet):              Veterinarian signs                                      Monthly premium:                           5 plans: 3 levels of compre-

 Healthcare           & cats            $3,500/incident,                       claim form at time                                       Basic: $24.95 cats, $29.95 dogs;           hensive coverage (Preferred

                                        $15,000/year, $220 routine             of service.                                              2-pet family: $51;                         PLUS, Preferred and Basic), as

                                        Preferred (per pet):                                                                            3-pet family: $64                          well as Senior and Accident
                                        $2,500/incident,                                                                                Preferred: $29.95 cats, $39.95 dogs;       Only.

                                     es o
                                        $12,000/year, $220 routine                                                                      2-pet family: $60;

                                        per pet                                                                                         3-pet family: $79

                                        Basic (per pet):                                                                                Preferred PLUS: $41.95 cats,
                                        $1,500/incident,                                                                                $49.95 dogs; 2-pet family: $79

                                        $7,500/year, $100 routine
 Trupanion/           Dogs              No limit per year, per claim           Signing claim form.                                     Varies depending on deductible. 1
 Vetinsurance         & cats            or per illness. Pay 90% of
                                        the actual chanrges up to
 PurinaCare           Dogs              PurinaCare:                            Enter diagnosis                                         Varies by species, breed, age,             PurinaCare plus Preventive Care;
 Pet Health           & cats            $20,000/year                           or presenting                                            zip code and plan.                         PurinaCare without Preventive
 Insurance                              PurinaCare plus Preventive             complaint on claim                                                                                  Care.
                                        Care has limits for                    form.
                                        preventive care benefits.
 Petsecure            Dogs              Coverage amounts renew                 No response.                                            Varies based on age, breed and             4 levels of coverage are
 Pet Health           & cats            every year.                                                                                     location. Averages about $43/              available.
 Insurance                                                                                                                              month.
 *Pethealth Inc./PetCare offers the various pet insurance policies using a combination of its own brands, private labeled, white labeled and co-branded programs. These include PetCare Pet Insurance, ShelterCare Pet
 Insurance, QuickCare Pet Insurance, QuickCare for Life, ShareCare, Union Plus Pet Insurance, HEB (Texas only), PETCO and MetLife. PetCare figures indicated in this table are consolidated figures for all of the corpora-
 tion’s brand names.

Trends magazine, November/December 2009

     Promoting Pet
     Insurance to Your
     •	 Inform	all	new	clients	about	pet	insurance	options.
     •	 Place	insurance	information	in	the	waiting	area	and	examination	rooms.
     •	 When	clients	schedule	appointments,	ask	if	they	have	insurance.
     •	 Keep	claim	forms	at	the	reception	desk.
     •	 Provide	information	about	pet	insurance	as	part	of	your	on-hold	or	
        after-hours messages.
     •	 Post	insurance	information	on	your	website.
     •	 Include	articles	about	pet	insurance	in	practice	newsletters,	pamphlets	
        and brochures.

     Source: National Commission on Veterinary Economic Issues

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