Revised policy encourages proactive education about pet insurance

Published on August 05, 2019

Pet health insurance can help defray pet owners' cost of veterinary care, empowering them to provide a higher level of medical care for their companions. This is why the AVMA has long endorsed the concept of pet insurance as a viable strategy to pay for high-quality veterinary services.

On Friday, AVMA’s volunteer House of Delegates (HOD) went a step further, amending the AVMA policy on pet health insurance to encourage practicing veterinarians to talk with and educate clients about pet health insurance. The amendment was referred to the HOD by the Board of Directors, which recommended its approval.

The revised policy incorporates 16 new words in the opening paragraph:

The AVMA endorses the concept of pet health insurance that provides coverage to help defray the cost of veterinary medical care and encourages veterinary healthcare teams to proactively educate their clients about the existence of such resources. The AVMA recognizes that viable pet health insurance programs may be an important approach for the veterinary profession to continue to provide high-quality veterinary services.

Why veterinarians need to talk about insurance

While the amendment is small, it’s intended to have big impact. Research conducted by the AVMA and other groups shows that pets with pet insurance get more veterinary care than those without. Studies also show that pet owners are more likely to have pet insurance if it is brought to their attention by their veterinarian.

This makes the veterinarian’s role critical. Only a very small percentage of America’s pets – 2.3% of dogs and 0.4% of cats – are protected by health insurance, according to the North American Pet Health Insurance Association. A key reason for the low adoption rate is lack of awareness and understanding of insurance among pet owners.

Bringing this information to our clients can help us elevate the level of care we’re able to provide to patients. That can improve the health, quality of life, and life expectancy of our patients.

Along with the revised policy, these other AVMA resources can help you talk with clients about pet insurance:

Partners for Healthy Pets also offers free tools to help practitioners talk with clients about the importance and value of preventive care, and implement monthly-payment preventive healthcare plans, which can aid clients in budgeting for wellness care for their pets.