October 04, 2016
When most people hear the words “pet insurance” they tend to laugh, thinking of eccentric pet parents, or the human health care mess comes to mind, and people want no part of that for their pets. But, pet insurance is not human insurance. Not even close. Human health insurance is managed care with plans that have negotiated prices and can dictate what procedures they will pay for, without a doctor’s opinion being considered. And, there are the restrictions on which doctors are in network. The cost of processing these plans is staggering. The handling of insurance billing in a physician office is a full time job and accounts for approximately 30% of their total expenses. Pet insurance will never be managed care. The reason? Simply: Vets don’t make enough. Vets could not afford to have the employees needed to process the claims.
On the contrary, pet insurance allows you, the pet owner, to control your pet’s health care and visit any veterinarian you want. You and your vet decide what plan is best for your pet. Once the services are performed, you pay the vet like you have always done and then the insurance company will reimburse you. With pet insurance you pay a monthly premium and the insurance is there when you need it, a bit like car insurance. The vet does not get involved in submitting claims. We get no kickbacks. It just allows the client to pay for their pet’s care.
But, there is another side to the negative feelings towards pet insurance that exists among those people more familiar with how pet insurance works. That grim perspective toward the industry is long lingering because the early companies were just not good. Many a pet owner was frustrated with slow and poor paying of claims and vets were tired of being blamed for suggesting the insurance to their clients in the first place. The early insurance companies were always denying claims and making pet owners resubmit claims. Like the quote in Jon Grisham’s The Rainmaker, it was all “deny, deny, deny!” And Veterinarians are like elephants, we never forget those frustrated calls from our clients.
I think it’s because of those terrible experiences that so many people, especially vets, have not educated themselves on the present day pet insurance companies, when now pet insurance truly is a win-win situation. I can’t tell you how much pet insurance has helped our clients,allowing people to care for their pets, the way they want, without the heavy burden of how to pay. The ability for clients to afford care is a significant in veterinary medicine, with decisions too often made on whether the pet owners have the funds or not. But, pet insurance has paid claims of over $200,000 in 5 years in our practice, and I’d wager a good chunk of that is money that a pet parent could not have come up with on their own. There are many animals alive simply because their owners had insurance.
Don’t be afraid to tell your friends and even your vet about your good experience with pet insurance. Show them Petinsurancereview.com, where there are reviews of all the insurance companies, by actual clients. Who knows? You might be sharing information that might one day save their pet’s life.
Other posts by Dr. Riggs
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