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September 01, 2021

Insured pets received more care, more frequently

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As pet health insurance becomes more prevalent in veterinary medicine, more data have become available on how having pet health insurance impacts client behavior.

For example, pet owners who purchase pet health insurance are more likely to bring their pets in to their veterinarian and to approve surgical procedures, according to a study by Nationwide released earlier this year.

More recently, a study (PDF) by Zoetis aimed to evaluate the impact of the company’s Pumpkin Pet Insurance and optional Preventive Essentials package on the number of hospital visits per year per pet, pet owners’ spending per year per pet, service and product purchases, and veterinary teams’ perceptions of acceptance of care and hospital visit experience. 

The study results were based on 396 transaction records for 71 dogs and four cats at three veterinary practices from 2019-20. The 75 pets were observed as two separate groups—28 pets insured with Pumpkin (26 dogs and two cats) and 47 never-insured pets (45 dogs and two cats).

According to Zoetis, Pumpkin insurance had the following impacts:

  • Pets had more examination fees, ear cleanings and cytology, surgeries, sedations, and in-hospital pharmacy transactions, compared with before these pets got Pumpkin. They also had more radiographs, blood panels, heartworm tests, and parasite control.
  • Pets visited their veterinarians 2.8 times per year, compared with 2.3 times per year prior to these pets getting Pumpkin and 1.7 times for never-insured pets in this dataset.
  • Calculated annual spending was $559 per pet with Pumpkin insurance, compared with $392 prior to these pets getting Pumpkin insurance and $326 for never-insured pets.
  • Among surveyed veterinary team members, 82% thought pet owners were more accepting of care recommendations when they had Pumpkin, and 64% said pet owners had a better hospital experience, while 90% said uninsured pet owners were anxious about the cost of care.
Infographic: More Visits Per YearInfographic: Higher Annual Spend