The true cost of pet ownership: unexpected expenses and a lifetime of care - Episode 7
How CareCredit, pet health insurance, and wellness plans prevent surprise expenses
Avoiding surprise expenses can lead to more satisfied clients
Content sponsored by CareCredit
Adam Christman, DVM, MBA: You know, there are so many different pet insurance companies that are now out in this space. And so I know that it's difficult for a pet parent to make the decision, 1. And then 2, we also have CareCredit. So, you know, talk to me a little bit about how, how is our synergy between pet insurance and CareCredit.
Peter Weinstein, DVM, MBA: So, I worked in the pet health insurance industry for 2 years, many years ago as the head of the claims department. So I think I see the synergy in the sense that CareCredit is going to help you with the immediate out of pocket cost. It's "Here's my credit card"...it's going to pay for the bill to you as the as the veterinarian. Now you're the veterinarian, not the pet owner, okay. And then me as the pet owner, I will get after my deductible, I'm gonna get some money back from the pet health insurance company. And I'm going to use that to help pay down the balance on my credit card. So now, what was maybe a $3,000 bill, maybe it's down to $1500, which becomes a much more tenable monthly payment over time. The nice thing about care credit is is it is you're paying out over time. And depending upon which plan, it could be interest free, or low interest, depending upon the different plans that are out there. And I'm not going to suggest that I'm an expert on all the different plans that are out there, from a pet health insurance standpoint or a CareCredit standpoint. I'm just suggesting that if you can pay lower monthly fees, because you're getting the check from the pet health insurance company for offsetting some of the cost of care, I think it helps you as a pet owner, have a better understanding and ability to pay for that cost of care and not to make a decision that's based upon economics, but a decision that's made in the best interest of the pet. So the other part of the question is, there's a lot of pet health insurance companies out there. So as a veterinarian, it is my responsibility to help vet, excuse the pun, those companies and find out which ones are best for my clients. I should be advocating for a couple of different pet health insurance companies. And so when I was in practice, we actually insured my staff members' pets, which gave them a full understanding of how pet health insurance works so they could be an advocate for it with the clients. And as a pet owner, as a veterinarian pet owner, I have used a number of different pet health insurance companies, so I understand how pet health insurance works. I think we as veterinarians, and maybe even our staffs have not done enough due diligence to fully understand the benefits of third party options like CareCredit and pet health insurance, not just to our clients, but to our staffs as well. I mean, if our staff could have CareCredit, and who's your number 1 accounts receivable in practice?
Adam Christman, DVM, MBA: It's usually your staff.
Peter Weinstein, DVM, MBA: Exactly. So how about if we actually got our bills paid? And let's hope our staff qualifies for CareCredit. But how do we best utilize care credit or an insurance company like Pets Bets, which is part of the Synchrony family to help provide better care for our staff members' pets as well?
Adam Christman, DVM, MBA: Yeah, that's really well said, too. So then let's just add in one other layer to certain practices have wellness plans that are associated with it. So let's talk about like wellness plans, CareCredit and pet insurance. You know, how does that all look?
Peter Weinstein, DVM, MBA: It all looks like a big happy family.
Adam Christman, DVM, MBA: Yeah, I mean, it's better than nothing.
Peter Weinstein, DVM, MBA: I think what, as a consumer in general, nobody likes surprises. So I was just mandated by the homeowners association, to paint our house. Don't you love that?
Adam Christman, DVM, MBA: That's fun.
Peter Weinstein, DVM, MBA: Yeah, it isn't. And it's like, well, I wasn't expecting that expense. That's a vacation, right? And so as a pet owner, we don't want to be told that it's going to cost us $6,000...$3,000 for something that we don't expect. And so I think by taking wellness plans, which help you understand what your monthly expectations are by having pet health insurance, which pays a monthly premium, but then we'll pay you a return based upon your claims. And then by having CareCredit, that is another way of controlling your monthly payments. I think you're better prepared for the surprise.
Adam Christman, DVM, MBA: Yeah.
Peter Weinstein, DVM, MBA: And nobody likes surprises when it comes to the cost of care for their pets.
Adam Christman, DVM, MBA: Yeah, no one likes surprises.