Jeffrey Klausner, DVM SVP and chief medical officer Banfield Pet Hospital
4 The idea of offering affordable, quality healthcare for pets was part of the vision of Banfield's former CEO Dr. Scott Campbell,
according to Klausner. Banfield has offered subscription healthcare plans—known as Optimum Wellness Plans—for preventive pet
wellness care since 1988. The services included in the plans have changed over the years to keep up with best pet preventive
practices, Klausner says, but the goal was always to provide quality pet healthcare at an affordable price.
Banfield statistics show that pet owners on wellness plans spend two to three times more than people who do not have their
pets on prepaid wellness plans, according to Klausner.
"We know the plans allow us to take better care of pets," he says. "But it's the stories about the pets that keep us motivated."
One such story involves a client's cat, Booki, on a Basic Plus plan. The 8-year-old, spayed Domestic Shorthair, arrived at
a Mesa, Ariz., hospital, with inappetence, an inflamed mouth and a fleshy growth on her lower left jaw.
Booki's veterinarian started her on prednisone; gave her an antibiotic injection and scheduled her for radiographs and a dental
biopsy. Then the doctor discussed the results with the client, and the client agreed to schedule Booki for the needed tooth
extractions, follow-up visits and home care. It helped the client to know that much of the cost of diagnostics, dental extractions
and treatment plans was already covered and the rest would be discounted under Booki's wellness plan.
Klausner says one of the main advantages of working with clients who put their pets on wellness plans is that the conversations
change. Now, he says, when they talk about dentistry with the client, it's about what the pet needs, not about the money.
All of Banfield's more than 780 veterinary hospitals in 43 states offer wellness plans for pets. Close to half of all Banfield
clients choose a preventive plan for their pets, but the number could be higher, Klausner says.
"The hardest part is helping clients understand that the plans are about preventive care, not insurance," he says. "We'd rather
try to prevent diseases than treat them."
All Banfield plans are geared for wellness care, Klausner says. They include unlimited office visits and two comprehensive
physical exams annually as well as parasite detection, deworming, annual vaccine boosters and a 5 percent to 20 percent discount
on services not in the plan.
The most basic plan is $21.95 per month; the most comprehensive is $78.95 per month. The comprehensive plan covers everything
in the primary plan plus laboratory screening, a CBC, a blood smear, urine sediment exams, urinalysis, two electrocardiograms,
three chest radiographic views, annual dental prophylaxis and cleaning and a 20 percent discount on services not in the plan.