The Executive Board approved Guidelines on Pet Health Insurance and Other Third Party Animal Health Plans, as revised and recommended by the Council on Veterinary Service. This will serve as the Association's sole policy on pet health insurance, superseding any previous endorsements and other documents on pet insurance.
In accordance with a five-year policy review directive, the council had reviewed the existing document as well as the AVMA Group Health and Life Insurance Trust's white paper on pet insurance, which the board endorsed this past April. This action reverses that endorsement.
The council found the white paper to be more prescriptive and specific than an AVMA policy should be. Also, the council believed that the provision calling for veterinarians to educate clients about pet insurance implied it was the practitioners' responsibility to help owners decide how to pay for services.
References in the revised policy are to "pet"—as they were until five years ago—rather than to "companion animal," since horses have not been added to most programs.
The revised policy is posted online at www.avma.org; click on "Policy" under the Reference bar and then on "Insurance, Pet Health."