A pet parent and cat work on their wellness plan.

What is a Pet Wellness Plan?

Many pet insurance companies and a few corporate pet hospitals offer pet “Wellness Plans.” Below, we will review what a pet wellness plan entails, how it works, how it compares to a pet insurance policy, what it covers, and if pet wellness plans are affordable.

How Does a Wellness Plan Compare to a Pet Health Insurance Policy?

Let’s take a look at some of the important differences between wellness plans and insurance policies:*

*Please see your pet insurance provider for details on all products before purchasing any policy or plan.

How to Pick a Pet Wellness Plan?

A quick start is to look for a pet insurance company that offers a wellness plan. Consider what you normally spend on “wellness” over the course of a year and then review the cost of the wellness plan and what it covers. Review the plan options to see what works best for your budget.

How Does a Pet Hospital-Offered Wellness Plan Work?

Some pet owners ask about pet hospital-based wellness plans. One example is the plan offered by Banfield Pet Hospitals. Banfield is a group of corporate-owned veterinary clinics associated with PetSmart® brand pet supply stores. They are often located inside or attached to PetSmart® stores. The United States has over 1,075 PetSmart stores and approximately 80% of these locations have Banfield Pet Hospitals affiliated with them.

Banfield offers a program called “Optimum Wellness Plans,” which provides discounted services through the veterinary chain. It is not standard pet insurance and can only be used at Banfield hospitals.

Unlike standard insurance plans, Optimum Wellness Plans have no deductibles, do not require making claims, and work like a discount membership. Depending on the plan, coverage ranges from emergency services to wellness care. Services covered by many plans include physical examinations, vaccinations, diagnostic testing, fecal exams, deworming, dental cleaning, urine testing, electrocardiograms, additional diagnostic testing and, in some cases, unlimited free office visits.

Again, the covered services depend on the plan. Wellness plans include more preventive health coverage than budget plans.

Similar plans are offered at veterinary hospitals, but cost and coverage will vary. This may be a good option if you live near one of these facilities.

Costs vary with the age of your pet and the plan you select. As with Wellness Plans, hospital plans with more benefits will cost more than plans that cover less.

What is Not Covered with Wellness Plans?

In general, wellness plans are intended to make wellness care more affordable and are not intended for use on “unpredictable or abnormal” occurrences, such as illnesses and injuries.

When Does Coverage Begin Once You Sign Up for a Wellness Plan?

For most plans, coverage goes into effect as soon as the first payment is made. There is no waiting period for new plan members before services can be used.

What about Pet Insurance?

Can you afford an unexpected $1,000 vet bill if your pet gets sick from swallowing something foreign or gets into an accident? Just as human medical treatment and technology has advanced, medical care for pets has also progressed, causing emergency care, diagnostic tests, and treatment options to be more expensive.

Did You Know? 4 out of 5 pets will have a medical emergency in their lifetime, and every six seconds a pet owner will face a veterinary bill of $1,000 or more.

We recommend getting a quote to see if pet insurance is right for your budget and your pet’s needs.

Is a Pet Wellness Plan Better for Your Wallet in the Long Run?

The advantage of a pet wellness plan is that you can provide your pet with recommended preventative care to help keep them healthy. If you vaccinate your pet to prevent disease and give your pet medications to prevent fleas and ticks, they will likely be healthier.