Pet wellness plans, or routine care plans, are similar to pet insurance, but have more in common with discount memberships than your typical healthcare policy. These plans are offered by some pet insurance companies as a standalone policy, but are commonly marketed as an add-on to your existing pet medical insurance policy. They are also offered by a select number of large, corporate veterinary hospitals.
Details of these plans vary, but the principles are often the same. They cover items that help optimize pet health, such as vaccines, dental cleanings, fecal checks, heartworm tests, heartworm prevention, flea control medications, and more. Wellness plans do NOT cover accidents, illness, or emergency health problems.
What Do Pet Wellness Plans Cover?
Pet wellness plans vary in coverage. Here are items that many wellness plans generally cover:
- Annual exams
- Dental/teeth cleaning
- Fecal and urinalysis tests
- Flea, tick, and heartworm prevention
- Heartworm testing or feline leukemia testing
- Routine blood testing
- Spaying and neutering
- Vaccinations or vaccine titers
Pet Wellness Plans are often affordable and worth the cost if you take advantage of their offerings. Before purchasing a plan, make sure you understand what is covered, the maximum payout per item or per year, and consider how you would best utilize a plan in caring for your pet’s health.
Here is an example of the cost and payout for one policy. The premium for a popular Essential Wellness Plan is $16/month, which would cost $192/year. The value of what you get for that annual cost with this plan is $305 IF you take advantage of everything that is being offered.
Another popular plan offered by a pet insurance company is the “Best Wellness” Plan, which costs $26/month (annual cost of $312) and provides an annual benefit of $535. If you take advantage of the annual benefit, you will save over $223 for the covered items.
Additionally, some Wellness Plans have limits for vaccine coverage per year or per vaccine. For example, a plan could cover up to $15 for a rabies vaccine. If your clinic charges $20, you will be responsible for the remaining $5.
For a wellness plan to work, you have to take advantage of opportunities to save. For example, if a plan covers dental cleaning up to $150 and you don’t get your pet’s teeth cleaned, then that may not be a benefit needed in your wellness package.
Is Pet Wellness Coverage Cheaper than Pet Insurance?
Wellness coverage can cost less or more than pet insurance, depending on the company chosen and the breadth of your coverage. Generally, the more coverage needed, the more expensive the plan.
In many ways, it is hard to compare wellness coverage with pet insurance, since they are two different products with different benefits. In the simplest sense, wellness plans cover wellness, while insurance plans cover medical care costs.
Wellness plans can be as extensive and expensive as pet insurance plans, based on your coverage requirements. For example, if you have a basic wellness plan with $300 in annual benefits, it can be in the same price range as most insurance plans. If you have a wellness plan with $500 or more worth of coverage per year, you’ll likely spend more than you would with an insurance policy.
Are Wellness Plans Worth the Money?
This is an excellent and common question asked by clients. Basically, it all depends on how much care your pet actually needs. If you utilize all the services suggested every year, you can definitely save money and provide your pet with additional wellness options. Also, the cost of these services on their own would exceed a year’s worth of insurance premiums. However, keep in mind that wellness plans don’t cover everything. You may find yourself paying for medication or diagnostic testing down the road.
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Pet insurance can be a safety net for you and your pet,
helping your pet care budget go further.