Study finds insured visit and spend more at veterinarian

Clients with pet health insurance spend and visit the veterinarian more, according to a recent survey conducted by the Brakke Veterinary Practice Management Group for the National Commission on Veterinary Economic Issues (NCVEI).

The report is the first in a series of planned NCVEI papers on the veterinary profession and takes an objective look at the pet health insurance industry. The eight-page guide is meant to help veterinarians understand pet health insurance and how it could benefit their practices.

Fear among veterinarians is one of the greatest factors prohibiting the growth of pet insurance, according to the survey, because they think it will result in a managed care system like the human health industry.

"While pet insurance doesn't have the ‘managed care’ problems that human insurance does, there is some similarity between dental insurance and pet insurance," says Dr. Karen E. Felsted, chief executive officer of NCVEI. "Numerous studies have shown that those with dental insurance spend more annually on dental care than those without insurance. Research on the veterinary wide also indicates a similar spending increase."

The cost of pet care, thanks to better diagnostic tools, and the emotional attachment of owners to their pets have both greatly increased over the last 25 years, according to the survey, creating a perfect setting for the need for pet health insurance to grow.

Clients who use pet health insurance had a 41 percent higher stop-treatment threshold, scheduled 40 percent more veterinary visits and spent twice as much on veterinary care over the life of their pet, according to a pet health insurance provider survey cited by Brakke.

Read the full NCVEI report by Brakke here.

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