Last week, I got a phone call from a gentleman in California whose dog had just had surgery and the bill was $4600. At the time, he didn't have pet insurance, but this episode stimulated his interest.
He did some investigation into pet insurance and found out something that didn't make sense to him so he called me with the following question. "Is it really true that I would have to pay the veterinarian and then seek reimbursement from the insurance company? That's not the way my human insurance works, or for that matter, any of my other insurance works. Somehow that seems almost backwards. Fortunately, I live in an affluent area and I was able to do that. I paid with a credit card. If I'd had insurance, I could have filed a claim and hopefully gotten reimbursed before the credit card bill came due."
This does bring up a point that I've been trying to make for a while now. Many pet owners who could benefit from pet insurance can't right now because the current model is indeed one of reimbursement after the bill is paid in full. The gentleman is right - pet insurance as it exists today is primarily for the affluent and/or those with plenty of available credit.
During his investigation, he had surmised that one of the main reasons for the existing model is that veterinarians by and large refuse to accept payment directly from insurance companies. I've posted before in articles and on this blog why they are reluctant to do so.
Someone will figure this out. In fact, he indicated that he is a businessman and is very interested in working on a solution to this problem that limits the pet insurance availability to many pet owners. Do you have an opinion or idea?