Pet Insurance: Make Sure to Capitalize on this Growing Trend!

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shutterstock_71731054In a growing trend, pet owners preparing for expensive, unexpected surgical vet bills are utilizing pet insurance to pay bills and keep accounts out of veterinary debt collection. Currently estimated as a $500 million per year industry, the American Pet Products Association (APPA) projects that more than $750 million will be spent toward insurance premiums by 2015. Data shows that:

  • 3 percent of cats were insured in 2012, compared to 1 percent in 2010 and 2008.
  • 5 percent of dogs were insured in 2012, compared to 4 percent in 2010 and 3 percent in 2008.
  • U.S. pet owners insured approximately 3 million cats and 4 million dogs.
  • Annual dog insurance costs premiums cost on average $250-$500.

Attitude is Everything

Owners investing in pet insurance are expecting to utilize the benefits, and rightfully so. Embrace their insurance with open arms and assure them that you and your staff will do everything in your power to help them receive their reimbursement. By showing that you care about their expenses and value their decision to “protect” their beloved pet with insurance, you are speaking volumes to the quality of care that you will provide when they need you most. Referrals will be sure to follow!

Staff Education

Having a properly trained staff is key to helping support your clients with pet insurance. Take advantage of the free courses offered by companies like Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI), America’s largest and oldest provider. VPI offers a complementary program that gives you and your staff the opportunity to complete online training modules at your own pace and to receive a certificate upon completion. Posting your certifications in your clinic will let pet owners know that you are serious about caring for their needs and will help substantiate your office procedures.

Making Pet Owners’ Lives Easier

Since most coverage plans reimburse the client directly, provide a bill that clearly reflects the services rendered and uses the applicable documentation/coding needed for prompt insurance reimbursement. As you help your clients get reimbursed and save money, your financial bottom line will benefit as they bring in their pets more often. Reports have shown that insured pets visit their vets anywhere from 65 to 171 percent more often than uninsured pets!

Like it or not, pet health insurance is here to stay, and the manner in which you approach the topic can make or break a client interaction and your financial bottom line. Similar to any fee-for-service health plans, pet care providers run the risk of bills being left unpaid, especially as office visit frequency increases. If this situation becomes your next reality, consider veterinary debt collection services to help settle your accounts. They are experts in managing pet insurance accounts that have gone delinquent!

YOUR TURN: How do approach pet owners who have purchased insurance on their pets? How have you helped pet owners best work with their insurance providers? Respond below, we want to hear your comments!

 

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John Erickson