How we handle pet insurance

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We educate clients about pet insurance by putting fliers in puppy and kitten kits because it's too late to offer to help defray the cost of treatment once a chronic condition is diagnosed. We direct clients to the brochure or to a pet insurance company Web site.

We educate clients about pet insurance by putting fliers in puppy and kitten kits because it's too late to offer to help defray the cost of treatment once a chronic condition is diagnosed. We direct clients to the brochure or to a pet insurance company Web site.

Pet insurance really hasn't caught on in our area. I think it's because clients have to pay the bill first and wait for reimbursement. If pet insurance worked like human health insurance and clients could just hand us their insurance card and only pay for what's not covered, it would be more popular. That would be a nightmare on our end, though—we'd have to hire someone to handle our insurance claims. Plus, our receivables would be tied up waiting for the insurance companies to pay the claims. If clients can't pay for a service or are concerned about the cost of care, we recommend applying for a third-party payment plan.

Pam Weakley is practice manager at Dickman Road Veterinary Clinic; Battle Creek, Mich.

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