Talking about pet health insurance: the client viewpoint


Dr. Wooten: You’re listening to the conversation. Does Bash and Danielle’s comments resonate with you and if yes, why?

Mr. Kassover: They do tremendously, and in full reveal here and transparency, I actually work in the medical profession in that I used to be in operations for a dermatology practice and now I work for a skincare company that provides skincare for doctors. Constantly, I’m dealing with doctors who are either trying to make sure that their patients are compliant and they’re using the skincare, but oftentimes they have treatments that they perform and if the staff is actually had those treatments and they say to one of the patients coming in, ‘Oh, Dr. so-and-so has treated me and they just had a wonderful touch and really made me feel at ease,’ the advocacy makes a huge difference for patients. I was thinking the same thing for me as veterinary patient, or in this case, Leo.

When I was angry with that doctor, I was thinking about this. If he had turned that conversation into more of an advocacy for my dog and for me rather than having it be adversarial. What ended up happening was he ended up giving me a discount for that visit. Granted, he came into the room about 15 minutes late which didn’t help my emotion, but he probably wouldn’t have had to discount that visit if he came in saying, ‘Do you have pet insurance? This is something that can help with your financial concern moving forward.I know you’re concerned about taking care of Leo. In this visit, we’re going to address this, and moving forward, this could be a lot easier.’

If he had actually taken that moment and told me or given me a solution, I probably would have looked at him a lot differently and the situation in the room itself, which was already probably a little bit tense, would have become less tense, and I would have seen an advocate rather than an adversary in that moment.

For me, this all resonates. If I hear it from the doctor and the doctor recommends something that would be good for my baby, and also it tells me that it’s going to somehow save me money, I think that would really resonate, and I think it would change the mood and the relationship in the room itself.

I really do believe if the staff had said something to me. I was saying to the MA as she was getting the history on the dog, ‘How much is this going to cost? How much is this going to cost?’ If she had just said to me, ‘I can tell you about this visit, but let’s be proactive and make sure that you don’t have this concern moving forward,’ in whatever language she wanted to use, that would have made me feel like oh, here’s a solution.

I think what you’re saying really, really resonates for me, and I do probably need to hear things seven times. But in the room, in that moment when I’m concerned about my pet’s welfare, I think it would have gone a long way and it would have changed how I felt about that particular provider.

Dr. Wooten: One pushback we often see from veterinarians about pet health insurance is that they did not go to vet school to become an insurance salesman. My question to you is from the perspective of a pet owner, would you like to hear recommendations about pet insurance from your veterinarian?

Mr. Kassover: Yes, as long as it’s sincere and wholehearted, and they can back it up with a story. I think that, for me, if they’re doing what’s best for me and for my pet, then yes, and that’s how it has to come out. It’s not a sale if it’s an education or if it’s a story that’s to my benefit. It has to be done sincerely.

Dr. Wooten: Because you believe in the value of pet health insurance, how would you advise veterinary practices to encourage other pet owners to get it?

Mr. Kassover: I think what you said resonates in that it needs to be messaging that’s consistently woven into a visit. Like I said, if it was mentioned to me as a solution to a problem that I think most people have, it would have changed my relationship with the practice.

Mr. Halow: I want to add that I hope that the context of the insurance issue isn't veterinary medicine is expensive these days, so you need and insurance policy to cover it, I don’t think is the right angle. I think that you should talk about what’s true, which is there are so many services now that are available. As you pointed out, veterinary care for dogs and cats is almost as advanced as the care that we give humans. It comes with a price tag.

Every pet owner or cat owner would want to avail themselves of all those services as their pet ages, and not be limited by money. I certainly wish that I would have had that with my dog and I think I’m in the majority here that as these pets age, we want to be able to throw the kitchen sink at it if we’ve got the kitchen sink available to us. There’s so much good care out there now. Referral medicine is just superb, and we should be able to take advantage of all those advanced boarded services.

Dr. Wooten: The bottom line is that it exists to help our pets live longer and better and healthier lives. As a tool, we should be using it more.

Dr. Wooten: This has been a great discussion. Thank you to our expert panelists for helping us learn more about the power of pet health insurance. Thank you, Kevin, for sharing Leo’s story.

Dr. Wooten: Thank you for watching Pet Connections, we hope you found this discussion to be useful and informative.

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