AAHA evaluates insurance policies

AAHA evaluates insurance policies

May 01, 2008

TAMPA, FLA. — The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) created a program to evaluate animal-insurance plans as a guide for owners.

Studies show most pet owners can handle unexpected veterinary expenses between $500 and $1,000, but would struggle with higher amounts. AAHA awards its Seal of Acceptance to pet-insurance companies that offer high-deductible, lower-cost policies — programs that are more affordable and provide coverage to the largest number of pets.

Insurance policies offer another option to owners who are unable to handle catastrophic expenses through savings, credit cards or medical-payment cards, AAHA announced during its annual conference in Tampa, Fla., in late March.

As technology, specialty care and rising fees become more common, "the association has urged the pet-insurance industry to make large-scale deductible policies available," says Dr. John Albers, AAHA executive director. "Higher deductibles reduce premiums and make insurance a more viable option for many budgets."

Aimed at promoting owner financial responsibility rather than pet insurance, the program evaluates various policy options.

Specific guidelines, including freedom of choice for the care provider — not limiting practitioners to be part of a network or group, for example — and direct reimbursement to the pet owner, must be met to receive the Seal of Acceptance, according to AAHA.