March 15, 2016

 

 Analysis finds veterinary prices flat for 2009 to mid-2015

Posted March 2, 2016

Prices for canine veterinary services were flat from 2009 through June 2015, at least on invoices submitted by policyholders with Nationwide pet health insurance.

Nationwide, formerly known as Veterinary Pet Insurance, and Purdue University Krannert School of Management introduced the Nationwide-Purdue Veterinary Price Index in January 2015 at the North American Veterinary Community Conference in Orlando, Florida.  Updates were announced in July 2015 at the AVMA Annual Convention and in January 2016 at the NAVC Conference. The index now draws on data from more than 6 million claims.    



​     Note: Each line is a three-month moving average.        Source: Nationwide-Purdue analysis

The initial analysis “revealed a widening gap not only between the Veterinary Price Index and general perception of price hikes, but also between the Veterinary Index and federal reports that showed veterinary pricing increasing faster than the rate of overall consumer inflation,” according to a summary in the January 2016 report. 

Policyholders with Nationwide pay their veterinarian, then submit invoices for reimbursement of covered services. Purdue economists analyze prices for common treatments, weighting the index by services purchased in 2013—when about 25 percent of spending in the data set for canine veterinary services was on wellness care, such as physical examinations, and 75 percent was on other medical care, such as treatment for otitis externa.  

The initial analysis found that prices for canine veterinary services decreased 1 percent between 2009 and 2013, after adjusting for seasonality. The consumer price index increased 8 percent in the same time frame. Prices for canine wellness care similarly increased 8 percent, but prices for canine medical care decreased 2 percent.

The July 2015 update to the index added data from 2014 and data on prices for feline veterinary services. The analysis found that prices for canine veterinary services decreased 2.1 percent between 2009 and 2014, while the consumer price index increased 10.4 percent. Prices for canine wellness care increased 7.9 percent, but prices for canine medical care decreased 5.3 percent. 

For feline veterinary services, prices decreased 6 percent between 2009 and 2014. Prices for feline wellness care increased 8.5 percent, but prices for feline medical care decreased 9.7 percent. 

Between January 2015 and June 2015, the latest analysis found an annualized 5.1 percent increase in prices for canine veterinary services, while the consumer price index increased 4.0 percent. Prices for canine wellness care increased 3.8 percent, and prices for canine medical care increased 5.6 percent.

Overall, prices for canine veterinary services increased just 0.1 percent from 2009 through June 2015, however, while the consumer price index increased 12.2 percent. Prices for canine wellness care increased 12.9 percent, but prices for canine medical care decreased 3.3 percent. 

Reports on the Nationwide-Purdue Veterinary Price Index are here.  

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