Chats with the Chatfields

Ep 44: Paws and Policies: Navigating the world of pet insurance

May 02, 2023 Season 1 Episode 44
Chats with the Chatfields
Ep 44: Paws and Policies: Navigating the world of pet insurance
Show Notes Transcript

In this episode, our hosts (Dr. Jen the vet and Dr. Jason Chatfield) sit down with an experienced pet owner and reporter to talk about the world of pet insurance. With so many options on the market, it can be overwhelming for pet owners to navigate the various plans and providers, and to decide whether or not insurance is right for their furry friend.

Emily Brill of The Canine Review breaks down the different types of coverage available, from accident-only to comprehensive plans, and explain the pros and cons of each. We also discuss important factors to consider when choosing a provider, such as customer service, policy limitations, and pre-existing condition exclusions.

Listeners will learn about the benefits of pet insurance, including financial security and peace of mind, as well as some of the potential pitfalls to watch out for. Our guest shares her own experiences with pet insurance and offers valuable tips for making the most of your policy.

Whether you're a seasoned pet owner or considering bringing a new furry family member into your home, this episode is a must-listen for anyone interested in learning more about pet insurance.

This episode is certified to provide 1 hr of PACCC CEU’s!  The unique code will be delivered during the episode, so listen up! Don’t know what PACCC is? And why would they be involved in CEU’s?  Pet lovers can get more information at

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Hello, welcome to chats with the chatfields. This is a podcast expand your idea of what impacts veterinarians, pet owners and basically all animal lovers in the galaxy as humans. We are your hosts I'm Dr. Jen the vet. 



And I'm Dr. Jason. 



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just go to And subscribe today. And if you've got a message full of love and positivity, you can find me at



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Okay, straight away straight into it. We go friends, welcome into the chat room. We have we have kind of a different kind of guest today. When you say Jase, I don't know how to use you did not read your production notes. There is no



I don't even know what you're talking about production notes.



Now listen, people have been asking for an episode about this. It's one of the hottest topics in veterinary medicine. It's one of the hottest topics in all the pet owner forums and so we thought naturally that we'd bring someone in to tell us all about it.



If we're not anything we're always ahead of the curve so it's perfect I don't know you're talking about different this is exactly where we need to be right out of the way right?



It sure does. I want to hear his excitement because today we're finally we're doing an episode that he has been wanting to do forever.



That's right and say that I



said he said for ever. Okay, well, forever. Anyway. So enough of that Chitty chatty, let's bring in our expert guest. So we have with us today a journalist. . Scared or journalist? Yeah. Especially within? Yeah. So we have a journalist we have in the chat room today, Emily brill. And just so that, you know, she's credible. She's bonafide she is for real. She actually has been a freelance journalist for Buzzfeed, the Atlantic China file, and did some work in CBS News is Beijing bureau. Yeah, that's before. Like all that's before she is became and is currently the executive editor and founder of the canine review. And if you don't know what we're talking about, then you should head to the canine And check it out. So we welcome we welcome the press. We welcome the media, the journalist into the chat room. Welcome, Emily, thank you so much for joining us.



Thank you so much. Thanks for having me.



Yes, we're very excited. So here's the things yet I know because we're in here, we're gonna grill Yeah, we're flipping the script on the journalist to be



on the other side of the of the interview.



So we are going to ask you about something. But before before, I want everyone to know all of our listeners to understand why you're here is because I don't think I've come across anyone as passionate about pet insurance as you are. And so that I mean, I know you're like you're an investigative journalist, you love the news. You love the story. How does that get you to being so passionate and so incredibly well informed about pet insurance? Had that happened? What's the story there?



Um, I, I love I love great business stories. And this i This, I think is going to be is one of the great business stories of the decade. And will and and it's I so far, we've had it all to ourselves. TCR



that's true. I don't see too much coverage about pet insurance. But I'm thinking



insurance as a business is gonna be the best the was I was just saying, like, like the overall story.



So the so the story of pet insurance is fascinating because it intersects so many different categories in it, you know, health care, veterinary medicine. pet industry intersects all the different categories of the pet industry, but it also gets into, like larger topics. It's also a human interest business story,



for sure. That's part of the biggest part of it is the human interest part of it.



Right. And so, so I was thinking there was like, maybe a dog, a cat, a ferret something in your background, because you didn't just wake up one day and say, Huh, pet insurance. How about that?



Yeah, there's usually some personal personal touch.



There's definitely and that's actually what so I have a I have a completely crazy yellow Labrador who's a field Labrador, so she was bred for bird hunting. And she's nuts. And I don't hold back and started spending got tons of hours and money in vet offices. And everybody kept asking me, don't you have pet insurance? Don't you have pet insurance? And I didn't know what the hell they were talking about, because I've been living in North Asia for for the past four years. Um, before before Beijing, I was in Korea. So I just didn't know anything. And I also started to get pissed off because I didn't understand why I didn't know anything and why nobody was why my veterinarian hadn't told me about it. Why? So if there was really this thing that could it would be paying for my vet bills, which we're getting. We're metastasizing.



How could anybody get cancer like a cancer? They are metastasizing, potentially with a field lab?



How could nobody know about this? If this were not some scam? So? So there's so the journalist in me thought, Okay, well, everything in my world is the answer to everything. And my role is to do a story about it. So I just started. Yeah, so so it began actually, as a reporting, project, I started in my quest to research pet insurance for myself, it sort of evolved into a reporting project for Buzzfeed. We that's,



I wouldn't tell you we I love that. Because you set out to find some answers. There weren't any. So you started sharing, right? You started providing some answers for other folks who might be looking about what it is. And so we don't want to interrupt the conversation as we're gonna get into some nitty gritty some things that all pet owners and veterinarians should know about pet insurance, and the current state of the industry, but before it so because I don't want to interrupt. We're gonna take a break now. Hang out, people don't bail out on it. We will be right back after the break. And then we're going to get into what are the questions you should be asking about pet insurance if you're looking to get a policy. All right, hang on. We'll be right back. Dr. Jenn the vet, and I'm here with my friend and colleague, Dr. Keith lassen. He's got an incredibly interesting story all about full bucket health,



my college roommate and that school, housemate, Dr. Rob Franklin and I were collaborating on some cases, both of us were struggling with diarrhea in some of our patients, whether it was after a procedure or after after an illness. So we created a formulation. But we didn't want to just create a formulation. We also wanted to create a movement and animal health, for being able to help animals in need, through the use of bar products that we developed that really this resulted in our one for one giving program, which we're we're really proud of, as much as we are our formulations for dogs versus cats.



And so if you want to know more about their one for when giving it full buckets, or if you're interested in better supporting your dog, cat or horses, digestive health, head over to full bucket to learn more. Okay, we're back. And we are back with Emily brill, who is an investigative journalist who covers well covers the pet industry, but more specifically the pet insurance game, and talking about all about pet insurance. Okay, so now we know how you got to the passion project with the canine review.



How long ago was that? Yeah.



That was in 2017 2017.



Yeah, so not not too long ago, not yesterday, but you've been working on this for a while, but it's not like, you know,



I mean, the canine review, we didn't actually launch TCR until until late 2019. Because it took me a while to go through the process of deciding I didn't want to have editors anymore.



How do you how do you get that? I liked it. But I think the world is more comfortable with me having editors. But anyhow, so um, so I guess that's the thing. So you started researching this because you had a need you needed pet insurance for your for your pup. So if I'm a regular pet owner, well actually, let's just say I'm not let's say I'm a veterinarian. Like, how does how does pet insurance even work? Because I've seen like I've seen people mention it when I've been in the emergency clinic at two in the morning. How Does it even work?



So I there's three key things people need to know. First things so the first thing is when you go on the internet to research pet insurance. The first thing you need to know and this is going to sound really counterintuitive, but it's it is a is a is the correct advice. Do not do price. You cannot shop for pet insurance based on price. Okay, I know that's not going to make any sense. But the reason that you can't use price is because these policies are mostly based Some what's called age based pricing. So they're priced in a way to get you in the door. They're priced very, they're, they're priced mostly on the cheap. At the start at the outset, when the dog is young, and then they just get, they just increase with age. So that by the time you really need the policy, and but by the time you really need the insurance, the premiums are so high that you can't afford them anymore. Okay. Okay. The price that you're seeing is not the price you're going to be paying



when my dog was 10. Correct. Okay, so So can I get insurance? And everyone please recognize she don't, she does not represent a pet insurance company at all. She's just a passionate and engaged person



represented, not only do I not represent a pet insurance company, but they all pretty much hate me. So



okay, because because she reports on them for the canine review. Right? Okay, so, so we're saying that, so she's just, she's not making a specific recommendation for you or your pet, we want you to do that on your own. She's just given us information. Okay, that's the disclaimer, and it's out. So if I have like, if I have a six year old dog, is it too late for me to get pet insurance, then?



Um, if you have a six year old dog, is it too late for you to get pet insurance? Um, it depends on the dog. I mean, usually, if the target has never been to a veterinarian, you might be able to, you might be able to get a policy and not have any pre existing conditions on the policy. That the issue so the issue with so the issue with pet insurance, is that pre existing conditions are not covered? No, by the way, no. Carrier covers pre existing conditions. Any carrier that says they do cover pre existing conditions, is full of bleep.



So all right,



we'll have the bleep button going. Love passionate people passionate? Yeah,



I would really, if they're, if they're telling you they cover pre existing conditions. That's a that's a red flag. That's a, that's deceptive marketing, and just just stay away. There's no such thing as a carrier that covers pre existing conditions. And if they give you the impression that they're doing it, they're just there, that's a, I would take that as a very bad sign. So pre existing conditions are not covered. Which means that if you have a dog who's six, your dog probably has some pre existing conditions, they won't be covered. So that's the issue with joining when your dog is six.



So you should so ideally, ideally, you're saying like a pet owner, you get the you get the pet, as you get a puppy, you get a kitten, you get a ferret, you get whatever, you should get that policy in place at the time that you get your pet.



You absolutely you should have the dog as you should have the policy as soon as you have the dog, if not sooner, some carriers allow you to get the dog allow you to get the policy before you before the dog is even born. Um, wow. does allow that. Yeah.



Okay, what if I have a six year old dog, right is this and I'm not trying to tell people how to commit this. But I'm not a big fan of insurance companies, either. You have to have them, but they're like a necessary evil. You have to have them but man, they drive me crazy, right? Human car insurance doesn't matter. But what if I was external dog? And I tell the insurance company? Yeah, I'm just you know, I'm a terrible owner. I've never been to the vet, how on earth? Are they going to find out what's true or not? Yeah. How



do they know about a preexisting condition?



I mean, they only didn't know it if you tell them right.



Well, here's how they do that. They there's something called waiting periods.



That you're like, I have that with my with my insurance. Yeah, like a 6096. I have to wait six, three weeks or something like that. Make sure nothing. My teeth don't fall out or something like that. And they cover me, right? It's same thing.



Right? Well, so insurance companies do this thing where they used to be able to do many of the insurance companies do maybe two months, three month waiting periods. Um, but that's slowly going away, because now we're having, finally, the states are passing legislation that is banning these waiting periods. So what the insurance companies are left with now is they're requiring the vet they're requiring, right? Yeah. So when you enroll your pet to be insured, you have to go for a vet exam within 24 hours. The insurer, the insurance company does that. Because there's something called adverse selection. In other words, people the is this theory that if somebody's dog gets hit by a car, they don't want that person then going online and buying an insurance policy, right. So that's to prevent that kind of enrollment.



I agree. Yeah. So that



they don't want you to enroll the time of need. They want you already enrolled have a policy in place as a shield, right? So that then the next day, if your dog gets hit by a car, then you go to the vet and they knew the dog was healthy before it got hit by the car. Yeah. So that everybody



who has enrolled is not a owner of a dog who has been hit by a car.



Right. So now this sort of starts to sound like human health insurance a little bit. Right. Everybody feeling that?



It does? And for the most I, I will say it for the most. So every single pet insurance carrier, with the exception of one is is operated by carriers that do other insurance they don't do that. There. These are carriers that also do life insurance that do homeowners insurance. Whoa, right. Flo from progressive



offers? Yeah. I've kind of mentioned it Oh, I'm sure your pet and your house and bundle blah, blah, blah, blah. Yeah, bundle



your bro and your pet.



These are not animal health people. They're these are people.



Money. These are business people. These are business people.



I will say and I'm at liberty to say this because I'm not endorsing Trupanion This is a company that is blocked our server blocked our server. I will say that Trupanion is is the only company that does Animal Health only insurance, which is a good thing.



Yeah, that is interesting. It is a good thing.



And a it does speak to the sort of non insurance part of their company. Okay, however the I would I would, you know, yeah. And even recent behavior.



Yeah, make it has cause for concern, cause for concern. So, okay, so So



to reiterate one more time, and with everything that you do, it's buyer beware, do your try to do your best do your best decision. We're not here endorsing anything. But there is is a dearth, right? That's a big word for me. I don't that's a dearth of information out there about this stuff. And, and maybe now there's almost too much information, you can go on internet find everything so



well. There's, there's so there's a lot of information, there's not a lot of there is not a lot of there actually is no other publication that does what we do, which is focused news on the pet industry that is not sponsored by the people that we're covering. We don't take as we don't take sponsors, right. And we the only revenue we have is our is our subscription fees.



By the canine Everyone had to Canine reviewed at the canine



And by subscription, yes, you're our revenue. That's how we pay for our reporters. And I and I think that's, that's worth noting, because, you know, there's no such thing as if you're not the customer, you're the product. And if you are reading, if you are consuming information on the internet about pet insurance, you just have to be conscious of who's paying for it.



But that's not unique to pet insurance, like no, it's not. And our listeners know that, like we we recommend being being aware of who's funding stuff at all times. However, it doesn't mean the information is bad necessarily. It just means you need to be aware. So because there's bias. But what



is unique about pet insurance, is it the you there are a lot of publications that cover human health insurance, that are not crappy sponsored content. There's the there's nothing else that does what we do. The joke is like, every time I go to a regulatory meeting, I'm the only reporter who shows up for it. And I am it when I show up to cover something, it's just me over and over and over. It's just me.



And then because there's no other publication that's writing about it. So So you said there were three key things that you thought that all pet owners should know about pet insurance. And the first one was Be aware that the practice is to use age based pricing. So the older a pet is, the higher the premium, even if they've been enrolled, but then you didn't get us to the so



when you see that's charging $10 versus a policy that charging $167 Don't think that the policy is charging 167 is necessarily the rip off. You should also look at the policy that's charging $10 as maybe the gimmick



Okay, so that's like a bait and switch almost. Yes, exactly. Okay, so So that's one key thing. Did you have two other key things? Yes.



So the next the next thing is wellness plans. They are similarly as I would say a shiny object, okay. They, they are used in inch so they're not really part of what's considered insurance they're prevent these are things that you can plan for. They're not accident illness. wellness plans are used I pet insurance companies to sort of distract you from all the stuff that they don't cover and all the stuff that they limit and exclude.



Okay, so I gotta I have to have a distinction here. So are you talking about wellness plans? Like because a lot of veterinary practices will offer notice plan? Oh, okay, so those are different. But I was



gonna say is what you should be doing is buying wellness coverage from your veterinarian. Okay.



I was concerned with this conversation was said we were gonna be okay. But distinct difference of opinion.



So yeah, I'm sorry. Yeah, thank you.



Okay, so the, so this, in this country, I think I'm the person



who can offer you the best wellness plan is your veterinarian because your veterinarian has a direct, has a is not a middleman and can give you the best, best bang for your buck. And your veterinarian also knows how to price your wellness plan and knows and by the way, is also in charge of your dog's health, dog's health. And is the appropriate person for a wellness plan. If the insurance company is not is by definition is going to charge more, because they're there? They're not the they're not the person charging directly? Right. There's



a middle the middleman, there's a third party. That's exactly right. So okay. Yeah. So So number one, age based pricing, be aware, figure out what that is. Number two, get a wellness plan from your veterinarian, not from an insurance company. Number three,



but if the insurance company is pushing wellness on you be aware.



Okay. And then the third key thing, because you said there were three, so I'm counting on three, Emily. The



third is is is look at how these companies pay claims and do. How does the claims process work?



Yeah. Okay. So pause right there for everyone to be stunned, because to me, that's the most interesting piece of this. Yep. How does the money move because I was a practice. I was a practice that I owned emergency clinics. But now I've also worked in regular practice. And Jason, do you know how that works?



Listen, I got three kids. And so I can only I can only relate to human insurance. I don't have any idea how pet insurance works. And this is the biggest thing for me is how exactly there's a claim, because I think I sort of understand how human insurance works. And I don't like it. But that's what we got. I think we could all do much better without insurance if we just pay the doctor directly, you know, but we can't we're not we're never gonna get that toothpaste back in the in the bottle or two. But I'm concerned that Hume that pet in church will also go that way. And and the veterinarians are the ones are going to get totally screwed on this, I think and as well as the owners. And so I'm concerned about how actually these claims are paid when you do need the insurance if you're an owner, and you started your dog and you paid your your premiums every time on time. And now you have a dog, you know, ate a toy, or just not, you know, succumb to something natural that pancreatitis. Yeah. But you have to put in and you're not getting any help from the insurance company. It just it just it. I am concerned about that.



Have you ever been in? Have you ever had like an emergency room bill from human health care? So several, so sorry, kids,



Emily, three kids.



So then you know that human health care costs are in a whole other. So I'm, I would love to have this conversation, human health care, good human health care. Because this is this is another sort of thing that people often get wrong about the topic of pet insurance. So we all veterinary care is actually the opposite situation. Veterinarians need to be charging more money, right? Um, the cost of veterinary care. I, I know I'm gonna get like shot for this, but you guys need to be charging more money. You're not overpriced. And the cost of veterinary care is not the issue. It's a very different human health care is a very different world. The, you know,



you know, 30, because the government's involved in human health care, right. So just for everyone who doesn't know the the price, the foundation of pricing and human health care is based on what the federal government will pay for Medicare and Medicaid. And then you go from there. We don't have that in veterinary medicine. It's whatever the veterinarian is charging, but mostly veterinary






A lot of it's a lot of the humans. So it's based on that but it's a medical



now, you don't have medical malpractice.



We do. We do don't have 3 million



dogs, but you but what you don't have is the $3 million dollar. You don't have to pay the liability insurance that the human



not at the same level unless you unless you want I think



I think what's this this is exactly what scares me. I think the answer is not yet right. I think it's I think our society is so wonderful that all we do is look for people who are trying to do a good thing and see how we can, you know, sue them to get money and very litigious. I think that no matter what anybody does, I'm not sure long



as pets remain property. I mean, it's,



and that's true. So as long as pets are legally property, then you can't sue for that emotional pain. And that's the thing that that exponentially increases the recovery for litigation. And that's the issue with humans, because, hey, if a human died, that's a big deal. Okay, exactly. And we have so I have an attorney, a couple of attorney colleagues in Florida, and they've said that as soon as pets are no longer property legally, they will stop all of their practice, they'll hire 40 More Associates, and they will sue for wrongful death.



Yes, that's, that's, that's probably right. So, I mean, so. So for. So I don't see right now. I don't I don't, you know, you'd have to make pets not property anymore to have the kinds of problems we're seeing. And you'd have to have no price regulation, like we see in human health care, by the way, right. Right. There's just I mean, we're the only country in the world that doesn't regulate health care costs at all. other wealthy countries regulate this stuff, except for us.



Okay, so if we, if we get to the point of where, where I'm standing in the emergency clinic at three in the morning with my dog, because they have bloody diarrhea, they're giving me this diagnosis of hge hemorrhagic gastroenteritis, they're telling me it's going to be, you know, $2,500, for the first 48 hours of intensive care for my dog, I don't have that. But I do have pet insurance. And so what happens is, they say to me, the veterinarian, I have pet insurance has it covered, and I say, I have no idea what you're talking about.



So that's, and then so that's what I that was my number three, which is which of these companies is going to is going to cover that three in the morning emergency and and get you what you need at three in the morning. You know, if you have $5,000



Does any company do that? Does any company pay directly so because what normally happens for me and regular practice, and in the emergency clinic, what happened was, they had a form, I signed the form as the treating veterinarian, I said, this was my diagnosis. They, I signed the form, and I gave it back to the owner. And then I fixed the pet.



And the owner fought with the insurance company, and the



owner paid me like somebody paid me that night. Yeah.



Um, so. So again, the only company that does that, that can that can do it in seconds, actually, in real time is Trupanion. And did



they pay like the owner doesn't have to pay like that the clinic gets paid immediately.



The clinic gets paid immediately. Oh, wow,



I didn't know that I thought it was so direct pay with the owner. And then reimbursement kind of, you know, a lot of



they can, they can get the money directly to the veterinarian, even if they don't have even if you don't have their software, they Trupanion will like work it out with you over the phone. I mean, they're they're crazily vet centric company. Okay. But they also are,



they're also the most expensive I think



they are and and that's the way to that is the way it's seen because the other companies do these pricing, these age based pricing strategies to get you in. However, I would, I would also point out that by the time your dog is 10 years old, maybe even eight years old, you're going to be paying much more than you what you might be paying on the Trupanion policy. Oh and your mind necessarily be getting as much as you could getting as on a value sort of assessment, then you'd be getting from Trupanion. I, I don't I personally, I personally, the claims process for me, the idea that you would have to pay upfront is a isn't is a deal breaker, I don't understand how that if you have to pay all of that upfront, and then wait to find out if you're even covered. That sort of defeats the purpose of insurance to me,



right, and so so you're talking about so at three in the morning, I'm standing there I have pet insurance, but I don't know if they pay. I don't I don't know if they pay directly. So and the veterinarian is still saying Look someone like we can't do it for free because we have to eat as well. And so that we got to pay all our staff. So we need something so I gotta give a deposit and then be ready to sew and the other owner is still having to pay even if it's covered by their pet insurance most of the time the owners having to pay and then go Get the money, they got to float it right. And then it goes get it the money by making a claim. Yeah. And so it's after the fact that the pet insurance decides if they cover it or not. They're like,



Oh, well, we only take well, you know, it only takes two days, it only takes one day, it'll take three days. But that's still not fast enough for,



for not, not everybody can show to people. Yeah. Yeah. And a lot of it depends on what, you know, unfortunately, what part of the month it falls in whether you have money in the deal. And, you know, it's just a normal everyday problem.



I mean, I think it I think that we I think that is and I think when people ask why is it that only 3% of Americans have pet insurance, which is another fun fact, like, three is crazy. Yeah, it is. It is considering the cost. I mean, considering how expensive veterinary care is, I, I wouldn't want to walk into a hospital with my crazy Labrador right now and be like paying out of pocket. I feel like I would, that would just sucks. I don't know why anybody



is if a percent of pet owners, kind of people, like what is it? 3%



of it just 3% of the population?



I guess it doesn't matter. It's a very low number in relation to the biggest number of pet owners. Yeah.



It's probably a slightly higher percentage for pet owners, but not much, versus the entire population. But like, it's probably still less than 10%.



The percentage is probably the same. Anyone who's interested in that? No, I think a lot of it is lack of information. I mean, I really Yeah, I think every day, people are talking about it, because it's becoming a thing. And I think the insurance companies seem I know, when we were in school a long time ago. I agree sort of on the horizon. Yeah, sure. It's, it's coming down the road. And it's not like we've been out of school for 100 years. That was pretty recent. Thank you very much. And, and now it's a thing, but it's no, it's not. It's, it's, it's new is developing. And so I'm always interested in talking about it.



It's very overwhelming, because you just, it's so there is information, but it's so much. And it's so confusing. And they don't make it easy. They just make it impossibly hard to navigate.



Well, I think insurance in and of itself, the cut like the concept of insurance, right, so you're hedging against a risk, and the likelihood of the risk coming about. And so I do think that that just by its very nature can be complicated. And especially with whether it's human health insurance, or pet insurance, you're talking about insuring against risk for something that's alive. And with all of the variables that brought about by different environments. So I think it's complicated no matter what, I think it'd be really hard to make it simple. And so I think that's that by its very nature. So I think that's the issue. But then you're right, when you have sort of when you throw into that marketing, and, you know, credibility of information available, et cetera. But I think that's where publications like The canine review, come into play, right, is where you can you can conclusively state, you take zero money, you know, from health insurance, or from pet insurance companies, except in the form of maybe a subscription. And that's it. It's all subscriber base, there's no ad revenue coming to you. And so but that also makes it hard for you to survive as a publication as



Yes, it does. And I mean, we literally, so yes, and we, I, you know, we charge so that's why we charge an obscene amount of money for a subscription, our subscriptions are not cheap. And people get angry, because they can't get they can't get access to our you have to there's a paywall, every part of our website has paywalls and that's why but the reason that is is because we don't want to be beholden to anybody and and we'd rather be beholden to you than beholden to the people we write about.



So I guess I guess that's part of my my question is, and this is I thought I did think of this last week, actually, when I was, you know, preparing for this episode. Jason. Last week. Did you hear that? It was preparing for you. I'm thinking of it



last forever for this. Okay, great.



Anyway, so I did think about this, because we have a lot of friends in the other members of the ibpsa the International boarding and Pet Services Association, right shout out. And so I was just I'm thinking of, what if I board my dog, so let's say I board my dog in a boarding kennel and they get sick. I'm not there but the boarding kennel. I've signed the paper that says that they should seek appropriate veterinary care for my pet if they become ill. Because it's gonna happen people like even if no one makes a mistake, everything is done right. Now. Some dogs get sick. Okay. So they take them to the vet. Well, is it covered? I'm not taking You know, they're not in my pets, not in my home, they're at a boarding kennel under someone else's care. Right. Like, what happens with that? Right? I mean, do you know most?



I was like, Are you asking her that question? That's a tough question. I don't



know the answer. Maybe there's no answer. I don't know. Well,



it depends. Well, if it's an illness that that you that you did not vaccinate the dog for. I think all of the carriers would not cover that. Um,



okay, so I can I can get even more granular with that if you want because so far. Yeah. So So let's say that, because it costs money to determine that it's not vaccine vaccine preventable, right? Yeah. So you got to send out for you got to take that you got to send out for that respiratory PCR to determine that it's mycoplasma causing this illness, not pair influenza Bordetella or adenovirus.



That's a great, so so that's another some of these carriers, actually will not this is really awful, too. They will only cover the diagnostic if the you know the answer, if you get an answer, and the answer is covered. Okay, ultimately, and ultimately, that



sounds like that sounds like every other insurance company I've ever talked to.



That sounds like a catch 22.



That says, Yeah, I agree with you. It's terrible.



But what am i It's not the way my insurance company works. It's no, I mean,



I don't mean specifically that I just mean, in general, as you just feel like, that's just as impair, right?



It's, it's a it's, it's terrible. Because you're you're trying to you don't know, if you don't know what's wrong, you have to diagnose it. And then if you don't get a positive result, then you're out for the diagnostics.



Well, here's the here's the part of the thing, though, is that I'm sure these insurance policies all have a different deductible. And so a lot of times that respiratory PCR that I'm talking about, in this case, where we have like a coughing dog, right? Whether they were boarded or not boarded, it doesn't matter coughing dog, then then number one, I hope you listen to Emily's Tip number two, which is get a wellness plan through your veterinarian, because then they will have been appropriately vaccinated for the things that are possibly vaccinated for that can prevent that. Number two, the deductible that restaurant PCR want to send out, when combined with the exam fee, it probably is still within your deductible amount, so you're still on the hook anyway. Right? And so you're probably still okay, so you should still send it out. And then determine that when it comes back that it was mycoplasma, there's no vaccine for that. So now all the treatment should be covered once the deductible is met. Right.



Yeah. And by the way, if your vet doesn't have a wellness plan, you should just talk to them about Yeah. Yeah. Doesn't mean they can't have a wellness plan. And,



and friends, we have an upcoming episode, if it's not out already, at the time that you're listening to this on wellness plans through veterinary practices. Yeah, yeah. So we're going to talk because those are two things that we agree should work in concert, to protect your yourself and your pets so that you're able to provide that veterinary care at the standard that you would like to when your pet needs it. Yeah, so okay.



But don't let the insurance companies use wellness to sort of distract you from what they're actually supposed to be doing, which is dealing with illness and accidents.



Okay. So so that's another huge. Yeah. And many of them



do many of them, you'll see that most of the description of the of what they're trying to sell you is the wellness coverage. And there's like, yeah, and it's just like, Okay, well, what about the accident illness? Oh, yeah, that's great. And then they'll just, I mean, the marketing is all about the wellness cover. And that's about it. That's a red flag.



When the when the pet insurance industry first started, that is all that they cover, right? They constantly a wellness plan, which then veterinarians said, Wait a minute, we, you know, we're doing this already. And there's several years of a little bit of fighting and veterans getting information out there. Now, I think it's, it's getting out there veterinarians also weren't the best as an industry in talking about this stuff. And now they're having, I mean, they are because they really are veterinarians, and they just want what's best for the pet. Sometimes you have talked about the financial aspect of that and what helps the owner help take care of the pet. And that's really all they want to do. A wellness plans are usually designed to make sure two things your dog is taken care of at first up, they know what's going to happen. And yeah, and to sort of force you to come back, you know, and have a look at the dog and make sure things okay, and things like that. Because all you care about is the wellness of the of the animal where maybe the insurance company, not being the devil but always wants to just, you know, make money. They're not in it to lose money, for sure.



Right. And well, there's, there's really good there's really great people, we're not slamming insurance, like there's really great people who are interested in the best care for animals working in pet insurance. It's true, but when we say insurance, we're saying she laughed at me. But when we say insurance Well, we mean, we,



I was laughing because I because I, you know, there are some that in during the course of my reporting, there had been some really egregious examples of, of I would say wrongdoing in the I don't know if you guys saw the reporting we did on fetched by the dodo. And the thing that they did. So they were trying they were trying to pass a language and their policy that was actually targeting veterinarians, for exclusion, um, that, that, that I caught? Because,



like, What do you mean? Like, if you had a veterinarian, you're excluded?



The language read that if you if you're, so if the claim was somebody who was a business, who was a business associate, which is many veterinary. So if you're a veteran, a professional, you're often going to use a business associate for your coverage. Because if you work in a veterinary hospital, where would you go for a veteran go to the place you work? Correct? Because it's so so the language Red was was such the any place you go with it. Business Associate business owner, co worker is excluded claim.



So let's say if I was working in a veterinary practice, my personal pet got sick, and I took them there for care, they wouldn't cover any of



it. Correct. So it was specifically designed to, to exclude veterinary professionals. And then in the next line or to it. The reason it gave was, was that veterinary professionals are moral hazards.



Because I could be cheating the system. Correct. They thought I would be making up stuff in order to get money for the practice that I work with the thought



is that nobody would notice that they were putting that language in there. Wow.



That's sort of a shot at the credibility of veterinarians as well. Like, no shade. Like we're gonna like we're running an insurance scam.



I don't think they realized that at two in the morning, I was going to be going through parents filings, and I found it.



Wow, wow.



I put it up on our homepage. And



so did they did they? What was it? What was the response by the company ended



up? So so there was a there was a there were a couple of people with very significant social media audiences, hoops to started putting it all over Instagram. And within I think it took about two weeks and pet plan. Now fetched by the dodo came out and said, you know, we've thought about it, and we change our we've changed our minds, and we're not going to do it. And



that's what journalism does. People. That's that's



called that's called high impact policy reporting.



Yes, yes. Wow. Okay.



Yeah, no, I mean, that's, that's fantastic. That's what it's all about.



Yeah. So if you don't want to be up reading the fine print of all insurance policies, you should subscribe to the canine review, apparently.



I think it was, it was I mean, it was great. I mean, that was a direct. That's, I mean, you know, the idea that, and the reason, obviously, that they that, that they were interested in excluding veterinarians, is because I guess you guys take really good care of your dogs. So you might cost insurance companies more money. And they had calculated that you cost more money to cover, then the general population. So let's cut you out. That's, I mean, that was the calculation that was made. So wow, it was just like, an unbelievable. Yeah.



That's incredible. So was that the first the first company that you found that did that that included veterinarians as a moral hazard?



I have not found another company that went to that extreme what's what's what's sort of concerning is that no company would comment and come out and against it, and or condemn it. The only company that would condemn it actually, this Trupanion the only none of the other insurance companies would would would commit not to doing that, not to doing that in the future. And nobody would condemn it or come out against it, which



is why insurance companies are out there out to make money and from a from a you know, a bean counter sort of perspective. They're probably correct about that. Yeah, they're probably correct this



is I don't think that's like the worst. That's it's just crazy that they would, they would do this crazy, you know, it's completely especially if you consider like you like you Do you need better insurance? Pet Insurance Companies need veterinarians? They don't



exist without veterinarians. Right? Insurance companies don't exist without?



What were they thinking? How are they thinking that was gonna work? Like,



you're thinking exactly what you were thinking they probably will get away with it for a while.



Here's the thing, you would never do that on the human side, that human side, you would never you would never say that like,



the pediatrician right?



In the beginning, they did exactly the same thing. They just one time, I'm not hating insurance companies, their job is to make money. It's true. If x is more expensive. I'm gonna see if I can exclude X and cover everybody. But the thing is, you from their point of view is



really really, really astonishing. It was probably the most astonishing. It is



it sounds like what that



was a crazy story. Yeah, I forgot the best part. The best part is that they had just partnered with the dodo. That's just his animal rights blog. Right?



Wow. Wow. Okay, that's interesting.



It was a great, it was such a fun story, too. It was so much fun. Okay.



Okay, so, folks, so we're logo everywhere. Right? Right. That was really that was really like quite the press event for them. I'm sure. So so what we want you to get, once you get out of this chatterboxes if you're listening is we're gonna put a link don't don't drive off the road. Again, we're gonna put links in the show notes, we're gonna put a link to the canine review, a link to more information about Emily. But also, the top three things that she recommends that you know, if you didn't know him before this episode, you should know number one, age related pricing is a thing, look into it. And be very aware before you start investigating insurance. Don't Don't be fooled by marketing and fancy languages. Number two, wellness plans are a great idea from your veterinarian. You don't look to an insurance company for your wellness, coverage or planning or anything, look to your veterinarian. We love that. And then number three, hold on, I gotta check my notes for this one. Number three. It wasn't pre existing conditions. Those are, how there



is number three is to ask about the claims process and understand how long is it going to take and what does it involve?



And who pays it first? Does the owner pay it and get it go fight with the insurance company to get it back as a reimbursement? Does the insurance company pay the veterinarian directly? How does that work? What does that look like? And pick one that is right for your family's financial situation? And and then don't forget that if that changes? Yeah, so but I do also like the preexisting conditions are a red flag, like be concerned about that. But we would encourage you to join the 3% who have pet insurance, and especially and I and another reason that we wanted to have this is because I don't know if everyone's aware. Maybe you've been living under a rock the number one breed in the US right now is the French or French Bulldog. No, unfortunately. Yes. It's not unfortunate. Unfortunate.



Knocked out the Labrador. They did.



They did I know. But French's need a lot of care. They're a very high maintenance breed, whether they're well bred or not well bred, it doesn't matter. You're going to need to be with your veterinarian, a lot. So a good veterinarian you trust and be looking to pet insurance. And to do that, check out the canine review to get your best info. Yeah, and I guess that's I mean,



I also think it's like, do your vet favor and get pet insurance? Because it's so such a better relationship with veterinarians, when when you remove that piece of the it's just such a nice thing to be able to have a conversation about focusing on the kids on



the care? I would I would offer money.



Yeah, I would also add, it's not like human insurance, where everyone just assumes you have insurance, I would talk to your veterinarian, because we do all sorts of bespoke care and sort of one on one. It's really, really good care. Talk to your veterinarian when you get insurance, hey, I've got something wrong, right? Because I have insurance. Here's the deal. I just wanna let you know, oh, you're a team, right? You're, you're an animal wellbeing. Team. Right. And, and as much as I probably sound like, I hate insurance I do. They're a necessary thing to have, and it would be a good thing. Right? You have to just make sure that you're doing the right thing for you and include them on the team. Right? Yeah. Yeah. That's just whatever. I think I think most veterinarians



are relieved when they find out a client has pet insurance,



which is different than it was, you know, a decade or half a decade. Yeah, because



it's great, right? Well, no, it used to be when people said they had insurance. I'm like, Oh, they're gonna have a bad day. Yeah, they presumed they presumed that everything was covered because their pet was sick. And it turned out it wasn't the time. So



yeah, that $50 copay on a $25,000. Human deal, right? Yeah, right. Yeah.



And it doesn't matter whether it's $5 or $5,000. If you don't have it, you don't have it. Right. And so it wouldn't matter how expensive it was or wasn't so anyway, so yes, so check into pet insurance, check the canine Before you do that, anything else that you think one more anything? Like any last thought you have for us, Emily?



I'm just what we talked about, about about just paying attention to who pays for the information you're consuming?



In general, right. Yeah.



I was gonna say that's in general, be critical, critical thinking skills did not go out of style. Okay. Well, thank you so much for joining us, Emily Brill of the canine review, and talking head insurance. I love that you're so passionate about pet insurance, because that is a pathway for incredible animal care. And that is what we love here. On Chad's with the Chatfield. So thank you so much. i That's all I have. Jason, is that all you have?



No, that's awesome. Go check it out. We got a lot of information. And just keep in mind, it's a disingenuous third party. Right. That's sort of best way to put it.



That's right. Okay, so that's it the Caden And we I think we've said it enough times, you should be there already on your computer. I'm Dr. Jenn the vet and I'm Dr. Jason. I will catch you all on the next episode. Thanks guys. The professional Animal Care certification council or PAP brings independent testing and certification to the pet care services industry is your dog daycare or boarding kennel or a groomer manned by pack certified professionals? Don't know if you don't know you got to look for the pack emblem at your facility to make sure that your pets receiving the highest level of professional pet care because we all know it's safer in a pack your pack CE code for this episode is cc 220082.



This episode is brought to you by full bucket veterinary strength supplements the leader in digestive health for dogs, cats and horses.