How Pet Insurance Helps Veterinarians

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Contributor, Benzinga
January 25, 2022

Pet insurance is great for more than pets and their owners. It can help vets as well and allow them to serve more beloved pets. Here’s what you need to know about the relationship between veterinarians and pet insurance.

What Does Pet Insurance Do?

Pet insurance is an insurance product that pet owners can buy to help lessen the burden of expensive and unexpected veterinary bills. It’s similar to health insurance for humans in some ways because it covers many conditions and procedures that require an owner to seek treatment for their pet. However, it differs because pet insurance does not cover pre-existing conditions. 

Pet insurance companies also do not work directly with veterinarians. Pet owners need to pay the veterinarian for services up front and then submit a claim for reimbursement to the pet insurance company. The pet insurance company then processes the claim to determine whether the services on the invoice from your veterinarian are covered by your insurance policy. If the services are covered, you’ll receive reimbursement from the insurance company. If it’s not covered, the pet insurance will deny your claim, and you will not receive reimbursement for the services. 

How Do Veterinarians Benefit From Pet Insurance?

It’s important to note that veterinarians do not benefit financially from pet insurance. With pet insurance, an owner will still pay the veterinarian in the same way as they would if they did not have pet insurance. If you’ve ever brought a new pet to a veterinarian, you may have received pamphlets about different pet insurance companies as part of your pet’s new patient package. The truth is that veterinarians do not receive any commission from pet insurance companies, so there is no financial benefit to gain if you sign up for a company that they recommend. 

Veterinarians do benefit from pet insurance in other ways. A veterinarian usually goes into their line of work because they love pets and want to help keep them healthy. With pet insurance, the financial burden is lessened for pet parents, which might allow some pet parents to seek out veterinary services that they couldn’t afford otherwise. So in this way, pet insurance benefits veterinarians because it allows them to help more people and their pets. 

Unlike human doctor’s offices, veterinary offices don’t need to do any extra work if a client has pet insurance. Veterinary offices don’t have to file claims for pet insurance, and they don’t need to wait for the insurance company to get paid. Veterinarians have very little to do with pet insurance at all. At most, they may need to confirm information about the pet’s medical records if and when a pet insurance company requests it. 

Should Veterinarians Offer More Support for Pet Insurance?

Pet insurance is still relatively new to the insurance market, so it’s not abnormal to question how it could be improved moving forward. It’s possible that veterinarians could offer more support for pet insurance to increase its value. As it stands now, the standard model for pet insurance is reimbursement insurance. Veterinarians don’t opt-in to participating in pet insurance, and they also can’t opt-out. The pet insurance company is the one that sets the standards, and in most cases, as long as you’re using a licensed veterinarian, your claim can be processed. 

Moving forward, veterinarians could offer more support for pet insurance by getting more involved with the process. Instead of operating on a reimbursement model, veterinarian offices could participate in networks with insurance companies. Perhaps veterinarian offices could offer insurance that is purchased directly from the veterinarian and can be used on their services alone.

Instead of using the reimbursement model, in-network veterinarians could file claims and bill the pet insurance company for the cost of services. This process would take the burden off pet parents because they would no longer have to pay for the veterinary bills upfront in addition to paying the pet insurance premium to the insurance company. It would also lessen the burden on pet parents because they would no longer be responsible for submitting claims to the pet insurance company. 

If veterinarians did start to adapt this model, it would mean that they would have to wait for payment if the client has pet insurance. If the pet insurance company denied the claim, it would delay the process even more because they’d then have to wait for the client to pay for the denied services. However, it could also benefit veterinarians by increasing their number of clients and profits even further. If pet parents didn’t have to worry about paying the veterinarian at the time of the visit, they might be more likely to come in for additional services. 

Compare Pet Insurance

Benzinga is committed to providing consumers with the most up-to-date information about pet insurance. Part of that information includes keeping tabs on the best pet insurance companies and newcomers to the market. Be sure to check back regularly to keep an eye on changes to this newer insurance product. For now, here are some of the best pet insurance companies on the market today.

Do You Need Pet Insurance?

If you have a pet, it doesn’t hurt to consider purchasing a pet insurance policy. Benzinga’s reviews of pet insurance companies can help you choose the company and policy that meets your needs.

Does Pet Insurance Cover Normal Vet Visits?

It depends on the type of pet insurance you purchase. When veterinarians talk about pet insurance, they are most likely referring to accident and illness coverage. This coverage is standard with most pet insurance plans. Some pet insurance companies also offer accident-only pet insurance. Some pet insurance companies offer wellness coverage at an additional cost. 

Traditional pet insurance policies that offer accident or accident and illness coverage do not cover normal vet visits. This feature means that your pet’s annual wellness exam is not eligible for reimbursement from your pet insurance company. Other routine services are also ineligible, including spay/neuter, vaccinations and routine blood work. Routine supplements and preventative medications are ineligible as well, including heartworm preventative pills and joint supplements.

If you purchase wellness coverage from a pet insurance company, it will cover some or all of these routine costs. Be sure to read the fine print of the policy to understand which services and treatments are and are not covered. 

Wondering which type of coverage you should purchase? It’s important to consider the costs as well as the reasons why you want pet insurance. Most people want pet insurance to provide peace of mind in case their pet has an unexpected accident or illness. Diagnostics and treatments for accidents and illnesses can be quite expensive, and it’s difficult to estimate exactly how much it might cost. 

On the other hand, routine care is predictable. Your veterinarian will tell you how often you should bring your pet in for routine visits. For most pets, once a year is perfectly fine. For older pets or pets with chronic illnesses, more frequent visits may be advised. Either way, the cost of routine vet care is predictable. You need to consider your veterinarian’s exam fee, the cost of your pet’s preventatives and supplements and the cost of your pet’s vaccinations. 

All this information can be used to determine the yearly total amount for your pet’s wellness care. If you’re considering purchasing wellness coverage, compare the total cost of that coverage to the amount that you spend on yearly routine vet care. Wellness coverage might not be worth the cost if the total that you would pay in yearly premiums is higher than what you spend on routine pet care.

What is the Purpose of Pet Insurance?

The purpose of pet insurance is to reduce the financial burden that pet parents face if their pet is injured or becomes ill unexpectedly. With pet insurance, you pay the insurance company a monthly (or annual) premium in exchange for coverage for your pet. If your pet suffers from an accident or illness that is covered by your pet insurance policy, you can submit a claim for reimbursement from the insurance company. Like other types of insurance, there is a deductible and a copay. If your claim is eligible for reimbursement, you’ll receive the amount that you paid to the veterinarian, minus the deductible and copay. It’s also important to note that some pet insurance companies do not cover exam fees, even for non-routine visits. If your pet insurance company doesn’t cover exam fees, that cost will be excluded from your reimbursement amount. 

The purpose of wellness coverage is to provide pet parents with an additional tool to help budget for their pet’s routine care. Some pet parents might find it easier and enjoy the peace of mind that comes with paying a fixed fee monthly for wellness care. Other pet parents might prefer to save up for their pet’s routine wellness care throughout the year on their own so they’re prepared when they bring their pet in for their yearly visit.