ASPCA Launches Pet Health Insurance Plan

Animal welfare organization wants to help pet owners control veterinary costs while providing proper pet care.

Posted: October 07, 2006, 5 a.m. EST

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ASPCA Pet Health Insurance helps cat owners provide for their pets’ care.The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) has introduced its new pet health insurance designed to help pet owners control the costs of veterinary care for their companion animals. The ASPCA Pet Health Insurance will offer coverage for routine wellness care as well as for unexpected accidents and illnesses.

“The ASPCA is committed to constantly trying to improve the quality of life for pets and pet parents,” said Ed Sayres, ASPCA president and CEO. “Veterinary costs are an important part of animal care and have been rising by approximately six percent annually. Too often, pet parents are faced with an impossible choice: the health, sometimes survival, of their pets or their financial well-being. No one should have to make such a decision.”

The ASPCA’s insurance partner is Petsmarketing Insurance.com Agency Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Hartville Group Inc. The Canton, Ohio, company operates its own call center and underwriting divisions.

“We were very excited to develop this unique offering for the ASPCA,” said Dennis Rushovich, Hartville Group CEO. “During the development process, we made sure to keep anti-cruelty at the forefront.” This commitment to anti-cruelty is reflected in the plans’ coverage. For example, procedures to which the ASPCA is opposed — such as declawing — are not covered by the pet health insurance plans.

For more information about ASPCA Pet Health Insurance or to get a free quote, visit the website.

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Rob Oaks    Swarthmore, PA

8/23/2008 7:49:21 AM

I WANT TO LET EVERYONE KNOW ABOUT A SERIOUS AND UNCONSCIONABLE FLAW IN THE ASPCA PET HEALTH INSURANCE PLANS.

With ASPCA, you renew your plan on a yearly basis. This yearly renewal is inconvenient but not, in itself, a problem.

Here's the very serious problem.

ANY CONDITION THAT EXISTED DURING THE PRIOR PLAN PERIOD IS CONSIDERED A PRE-EXISTING CONDITION!

What are the implications?

Consider the following situation:
* Your dog is diagnosed with a serious cancer on a Monday and you schedule your dog for costly, major surgery on Thursday.
* You submit the ASPCA insurance claim on Tuesday.
* Your ASPCA plan is set for renewal on Wednesday.
* Your dog undergoes surgery on Thursday.
* You submit the ASPCA insurance claim for the surgery on Friday.
Guess what? YOUR CLAIM WILL BE DENIED!

Please let this sink in.

ANY CONDITION, NO MATTER HOW SERIOUS, THAT EXISTED EVEN 1 DAY PRIOR TO RENEWAL WILL NOT BE COVERED. This also implies that any condition that lasts, in any form, more than a year, will not be covered for the condition’s duration.

I talked to a customer service supervisor about this (their customer service is generally very good, BTW) and they acknowledged that it’s a real problem, citing examples of major, heartbreaking claims that were not covered because they spanned the renewal date.

What ASPCA will tell you is that they have a plan, the Sterling Plan, that covers “long-term” conditions (now remember, according to the example above, LONG TERM COULD ACTUALLY BE 4 DAYS). What they won’t emphasize is the following:
* The Sterling Plan is by far their most expensive plan. It is almost 50% more than their next most expensive plan, the Premier Plan, which is what I have.
* The Sterling Plan has a maximum PER INCIDENT (NOT per visit) benefit of $2500, which is HALF of the maximum incident benefit for the Premier Plan. This means that any condition, NO MATTER HOW SERIOUS, will not be covered past $2500. So, if you thought you could sign up for the Sterling Plan to deal with a catastrophic care situation—think again: $2,500 doesn’t go very far when it comes to things like cancer.

Now I understand the basic principles of insurance and actuarial science. With any insurance plan, there will be net winners and net losers. But what I’m telling you is that I do not believe that the majority of ASPCA Pet Health Insurance subscribers will save money over the life of their pet.

That’s the bottom line.

For more information or to contact ASPCA Pet Health Insurance and tell them what you think, see LINK

Fred G.    Kerrville TX, TX

10/11/2006 4:17:15 PM

OK, BUT!! - the dumb thing wouldn't give a quote! Every time I hit a button it flashed off, reset itself, obliterating the data I had put in! finally I got 3 cats in, but forgot the name for the 3rd - I tried to hit BACK, and got a :Can' find this page" message! 10-15 min work lost!, and no quote. They have tried to make it way too difficult! We are capable of typing in the cat's age!! We don't need those dumb pull-down menus for 1, 5, 8, etc.!! Or, to put in our state abbrev.

Mary    Olympia, WA

10/9/2006 12:06:50 AM

This is a great idea but there is not enough information listed in the article. Is this available in all states? Does it matter what vet you take your pet to? Exactly what services are covered by the 4 levels of insurance? Details please!

Cathy    Athens, GA

10/7/2006 10:35:36 AM

I think that's a good idea.

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