Letter to Vetted: Youve got pet insurance all wrong!

November 13, 2018

An RVT with 15 years experience writes us to say a DVM who worries that pet insurance will go the way of human healthcare insurance is all wrong.

Editor's note: Last week, Vetted published a letter online from an optometrist-turned-veterinarian who wondered whether more pet insurance penetration could mean less money for veterinary medicine down the road. In this leter, an RVT who now works for a pet insurance provider responds …

My name is Ashley Perez, and I'm an RVT with 15 years of experience-10 of those being an ICU tech at an emergency and referral hospital. I now work for a pet insurance company. I recently read “Letter to Vetted: Pet insurance worries me” by Dr. Jessica Czerny.

As an emergency and critical care tech, I encountered pet parents angry over the price of their bill, pet parents who cherry-pick through estimates deciding what they could and couldn't afford, and pets being sent home on SQ fluids and pain meds when that pet should have been hospitalized. Those were the positive outcomes. Economic euthanasia was very frequent. Those pet parents cared for their pets, but simply couldn't afford treatment because they hadn't or couldn't prepare for something unexpected. Pet insurance was not something that I was taught about when I was in tech school, and I was not educated to be an advocate when I transitioned to working at a general practice. As I look back at my career, I've regretted the countless number of missed opportunities that I had to protect patients because I didn't talk with their pet parents about pet insurance. As an advocate for the voiceless, I failed miserably in this area.

When I read Dr. Czerny's letter, I was very disappointed in her point of view and the fact that you chose to publish her letter. Dr. Czerny has fears about pet insurance, but those fears are founded on misconceptions. Dr. Czerny wrote, “This same vision insurance was started with seemingly good intentions-just like today's veterinary insurance. However, the negative impact comes when a majority of clinics sign provider contracts.” This is not how pet insurance works, making her fears about pet insurance flawed.

Veterinary staff members make recommendations about the benefits of pet insurance in general and can share with pet parents companies that they like. There are no provider contracts between practices and specific companies. In addition, pet insurance companies reimburse the pet parent, not the veterinary clinic. This makes it possible for clients to choose any vet they want to see and makes the phrase “We don't take pet insurance here” inaccurate. The insurance relationship exists between the company and the pet parent.

Sharing Dr. Czerny's letter propagates misinformation about pet insurance and continues the generalized stigma against it.

- Ashley Perez, RVT

Territory outreach rep

Embrace Pet Insurance