PetFirst Pet Insurance vs. Veterinary Discount Plans: What You Must Understand


veterinary discount plans are not pet insurance

As discussed in a prior article, PetFirst, like insurance companies in general, bears the financial burden of an expense covered by the policy that would otherwise be your’s to pay. Of course, the expense must be covered by the policy, but PetFirst pet insurance plans cover procedures ranging from the most simple, like ear and eye infections, to invasive surgery. The extent of the coverage differs depending upon the plan that you select. But the point is, that the financial burden of pet care is removed from you. Therefore, you are empowered to ensure the proper care for your pet because expense becomes less of an issue.

What’s more, because there are no entanglements, such as networks, between PetFirst and your veterinarian, you are entirely free to continue using your favored veterinarian, or any other, for care. PetFirst Pet Insurance is also portable. If you move, the benefits of PetFirst pet insurance follow you simply because there are no networks; you simply select another veterinarian.

PetFirst pet insurance works like this:

  • Select the plan that suits your needs and your budget
  • When the need arises, take your pet to the veterinarian of your choice
  • Pay the veterinarian’s charge for the treatment or procedure (or negotiate a lower one if you can, and pay it)
  • Submit your claim to PetFirst and get directly reimbursed according to the plan you purchased

PetFirst Pet Insurance is Uniquely Different from Veterinary Discount Plans

Now, contrast PetFirst Pet Insurance to a veterinary discount plan. A discount plan is a program where one or more veterinarians agree with a network organization to offer certain discounts for veterinary procedures. Discount cards are widely sold, such as at drug stores, convenience stores, and other non-insurance-specific, purely commercial outlets. A discount plan is not insurance, because it does not bear any of the financial butden for the cost of the veterinary care. It may be helpful to a limited degree, but understant that it is not insurance. I said that before, but it bears repeating. It does not reimburse you for any of your pet care expense. At best, it gets you a lower fee on certain services from participating providers. Remember, though, that veterinary charges are often negotiable anyway, without incurring the cost of joining a discount plan.

With a veterinary discount plan, you are at risk that a veterinarian may drop out of the plan, or fails to honor the discounts that the plan promises. While there exist discount plans for human medical care, they have become increasinly regulated by State insurance regulators for reasons of consumer protection. That regulation has not (yet) extended to veterinary discount programs.

A true pet insurance plan, such as PetFirst is backed by a licensed and regulated insurance company. Part of the licensure and regulation involves ensuring the financial integrity of the program and the strict enforcement of consumer protection laws. That’s among the reasons why PetFirst is best.

ABOUT THE BLOGGER

Luke Brown, insurance expert

Luke Brown is a retired attorney, a husband, a father, and presently the human to 15 dogs, 2 tortoises, and a fish. Early in his career, Luke represented insurers and their policyholders in liability claims, and policyholders in claims against their own insurers. His clients have included insurers and other insurance licensees in regulatory matters before state insurance regulatory authorities. Before that, he was Senior Executive Attorney for the Florida Department of Insurance Regulation. He has taught insurance law at Florida State University’s Law School and at the FSU College of Business. He wrote a treatise on Florida insurance law, edited the insurance topic of a legal encyclopedia, and served as a consultant on insurance for a major international information provider. Luke now writes on insurance and healthcare for a diverse audience.



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