The Best Pet Wellness Plans That Cover What Insurance Won't

·10 min read
pet wellness plans
pet wellness plans

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

  1. On This Page

    • Pet Insurance vs. Pet Wellness

    • Best Pet Wellness Plans of 2022

    • Final Verdict

    • Compare the Best Pet Wellness Plans

    • Frequently Asked Questions

    • Methodology

Even though pets are members of the family, we can't exactly hand over our own health insurance cards to the veterinarian after a visit. Bummer, right? And pet care is no small expense, even if your furry companion has no pre-existing conditions.

There are ways to save on your pet's vet and medication bills, though. Two of the most popular options are pet insurance and pet wellness plans. Each type works a little differently, but both are intended to take the sting out of vet bills. In order to pick the right health coverage for your animal, it's important to understand the differences between the two as well as how they complement each other.

Pet Insurance vs. Pet Wellness

Although pet insurance and pet wellness plans have the same goal—to help keep your pet as healthy as possible—they are designed a little bit differently.

"Wellness plans are preventative, with specific products/services included," President of the American Veterinary Medical Association José Arce, DVM, explains to Daily Paws, citing examples of covered services such as general annual examinations, vaccines, and antiparasitics. On the other hand, "Insurance helps cover expenses for unplanned illnesses and injuries."

Think about it from the perspective of human health care: A yearly physical is an example of preventative care, but a visit to urgent care is typically unexpected. You can easily make the argument that having coverage for both scenarios is wise.

Here, we outline five of the best pet wellness plans—including ways their benefits differ. Of course, you should consult your veterinarian about the types of care your pet is most likely to benefit from before signing up for any of the plans below.

Best Pet Wellness Plans of 2022

  • Best for Preventative Service Coverage: Banfield Pet Hospital

  • Best for Medical Expense Reimbursement: Eusoh

  • Best for an Easily Accessible Emergency Fund: Pawp

  • Best for Pre-Existing Condition Coverage: Pet Assure

  • Best for Discounts on Prescriptions & Supplements: PetPlus

Best for Preventative Service Coverage: Banfield Pet Hospital

Key Specs

  • Enrollment Fee: $57.95

  • Average Premium: $50.62/month

  • Multi-Pet Discount? Yes

banfield pet hospital
banfield pet hospital

Why It Made the List

Banfield Pet Hospital offers packages called Optimum Wellness Plans (OWPs), which come with comprehensive preventative care coverage for puppies, kittens, and adult dogs and cats. On top of the set packages (see below), pet parents can add on a number of other services if their pet requires them.

Plan benefits include unlimited in-office visits, two virtual office visits, and discounts on various Banfield services. OWPs are different from pet insurance in that they cover routine care initiatives that are necessary to keep your pet healthy year-round instead of unexpected vet visits for accidents and illnesses. Banfield plans can be paid for annually or be broken up into 12 monthly payments at no extra cost.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Multiple plan options

  • Virtual pet health services

  • Dental care coverage

  • No interest on monthly payments

  • Extra support for chronic pet conditions

Cons

  • Plans can only be used at Banfield locations

  • Not available in all states

Plans & Pricing

Note: Prices vary by location. The prices below are based on a Des Moines, Iowa ZIP code.

Best for Medical Expense Reimbursement: Eusoh

Key Specs

  • Enrollment Fee: $10–$20/month

  • Average Premium: $25/month for cats; $55/month for dogs

  • Multi-Pet Discount? Yes

Eusoh pet wellness
Eusoh pet wellness

Why It Made the List

Eusoh is a unique community health sharing plan that reimburses members for the following types of expenses: medical, wellness, illness, and routine care. Networks are not part of the equation, so pet parents can go to whatever pet health provider they want, including their local veterinarian. Members pay the vet directly, then submit expenses for reimbursement from the plan, based on predetermined rates.

The company's cost-sharing structure is what makes it stand out from the pack. Instead of an insurance company covering part of the cost, up to 80 percent of the funds come from fellow community members. Reimbursement amounts are based on national service averages and can't exceed $8,500 in one year.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Includes both preventative and emergency care

  • 24/7 access to Televet

  • No network restrictions

  • Transparent cost structure

  • Unused fees are credited to members' accounts

Cons

  • Extra monthly membership fee

  • Reimbursement percentage can vary

Plans & Pricing

  • Price for one dog: $75/month

  • Price for one cat: $35/month

Best for an Easily Accessible Medical Emergency Fund: Pawp

Key Specs

  • Enrollment Fee: $0

  • Average Premium: $24/month

  • Multi-Pet Discount? No

Pawp pet wellness
Pawp pet wellness

Why It Made the List

Pet health emergencies can leave a gigantic dent in your wallet, so having a dedicated fund for surprise medical expenses is a game changer. For $24 a month, Pawp members gain access to a monetary safety net that covers one vet bill annually, up to $3,000.

Though pet insurance can be used multiple times a year, there's typically a deductible in place, meaning most insurance plans don't offer 100-percent reimbursement. With Pawp, your entire bill will be paid for if it's under $3,000. Membership also includes unlimited consultations with a veterinarian via video or text and discounts on prescription medications. Since the fund can only be used for emergency care, pet parents typically pair Pawp with a second pet wellness plan, like Banfield, that covers preventative services.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Up to six pets can be covered under one membership

  • Total bill amount is eligible for reimbursement

  • 24/7 access to Pawp veterinarians

  • No restrictions for pre-existing conditions

  • Can be used at any vet clinic

Cons

  • Authorization is required to activate fund

  • Money can't be split between multiple vet bills

Plans & Pricing

  • Monthly Pawp membership: $24/month

Best for Pre-Existing Condition Coverage: Pet Assure

Key Specs

  • Enrollment Fee: $0

  • Average Premium: $9.95/month for cats; $11.95/month for dogs

  • Multi-Pet Discount? Yes

Pet Assure pet wellness
Pet Assure pet wellness

Why It Made the List

If your pet has a pre-existing condition, it can be difficult to find coverage. But Pet Assure is all-inclusive, meaning you will receive veterinary discounts no matter what type of pet you own, their age, and their current health status. In addition to covering cancer care, diabetes management, and allergy treatment, Pet Assure can be used for common vet services, including vaccinations, dental work, spay and neuter procedures, and more.

Instead of reimbursing members after the fact, Pet Assure offers the savings up front and no deductibles need to be met. Prices vary from $9.95 to $11.95 per month for a single animal, or you can opt for the Family plan, which covers between two and four animals of any size for $16.95 a month. If your pet posse is more than four, there's also an Unlimited plan ($21.95/month). One downside to Pet Assure is that it's currently only available as an employee benefit, so if your employer is not signed up for the program, you aren't able to purchase a plan separately.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • All types of pets are covered

  • No waiting period to use coverage

  • No procedure exclusions

  • Unlimited plan usage

  • Discount provided upfront

Cons

  • Only available through select employers

  • Cannot be used at all vet offices

Plans & Pricing

Note: All plans are subject to employer approval.

  • Price for one small animal (cat, bird, rabbit, etc.): $9.95/month

  • Price for one large animal (dog, horse, pig, etc.): $11.95/month

  • Price for two to four animals: $16.95/month

  • Price for an unlimited amount of pets: $21.95/month

Best for Discounts on Prescriptions & Supplements: PetPlus

Key Specs

  • Enrollment Fee: $0

  • Average Premium: $139.95/year

  • Multi-Pet Discount? Yes

PetPlus pet wellness
PetPlus pet wellness

Why It Made the List

Part of keeping our pets healthy is making sure they get the medications they need to live their best lives. These include flea and tick preventatives, heartworm products, and specialty foods if your furry companion has certain dietary needs. With PetPlus, members gain access to wholesale pricing on hundreds of medications, an area that isn't always covered by pet insurance. Free delivery is an added incentive.

One of pet parents' favorite aspects of the plan is that they're guaranteed to save more than the membership fee ($139.95) each year and will receive a credit if they don't (on average, members save $198 per year). You'll also have a direct line to a vet specialist 24/7 via phone, email, or chat for questions about your pet's health or medication.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Guaranteed savings

  • Free delivery

  • 24/7 vet specialist helpline

  • No exclusions for pre-existing conditions

  • Monthly price comes out to less than $12

Cons

  • Only covers dogs and cats

Plans & Pricing

  • Price for one pet: $139.95/year

  • Price for each additional pet: $100/year

Final Verdict

Pet wellness plans help cover necessary preventative care measures that animals routinely require and make obtaining this care more affordable in the long run. Some plans are also designed to ease the financial burden of unplanned expenses.

As always, you should talk to your veterinarian before obtaining any type of coverage—insurance or wellness. Since they know your pet's history, they will be able to provide specific recommendations and can answer questions about different coverage options.

Compare the Best Pet Wellness Plans

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do Pet Wellness Plans Work?

Pet wellness plans are designed to reimburse or offer discounts to members for various wellness costs, such as vaccinations, dental cleanings, surgical procedures, prescriptions, and more. The coverage varies depending on the provider and should be discussed with your veterinarian.

"It is important that pet owners clearly understand the scope of what their pet insurance policy covers so they are not caught off-guard if their policy does not provide coverage," Arce explains to Daily Paws.

Some pet wellness plans, like Pawp, provide savings on emergency care, whereas other plans, like Banfield's Optimum Wellness Plans, help cover preventative care services. The great thing about pet wellness plans is that many of them can be used in conjunction with one another. For instance, a pet parent could be a member of Banfield, Pawp, and PetPlus, which would cover their pets' routine care, emergency care, and prescription costs, respectively. It all depends on how much coverage a parent wants and a pet requires.

Are Pet Wellness Plans Worth the Money?

The total amount on a vet bill can come as quite a shock if your pet is uninsured. The number one way to keep costs down? By practicing preventative care, according to veterinarians.

"Treating a serious illness can be 25 times more expensive than preventing it," says Ari Zabell, DVM, who has worked with Banfield Pet Hospital for 26 years.

Arce agrees: "Regular veterinary visits and a commitment to preventive care can help keep costs lower and more predictable while catching problems before they become serious and more costly to treat."

However, Arce and the American Veterinary Medical Association recommend talking to your veterinarian about pet insurance, too. "Pet owners should always be prepared for unexpected expenses," Arce says. Pet insurance and wellness plans "can help keep a pet owner's veterinary expenses down, particularly for higher-priced care such as complicated surgeries or cancer diagnosis and treatment."

Methodology

In our search for the best pet insurance, our research team uncovered pet wellness providers that offer coverage beyond the scope of traditional pet insurance plans. In total, we collected more than 2,000 data points and weighed the following factors for each company:

  • Plan options

  • Enrollment & monthly membership fees

  • Plan inclusions & exclusions

  • Discounts, including multi-pet savings

  • Coverage limits

  • Location restrictions

  • Access to a helpline

We also considered whether a plan provides enough coverage to stand on its own or if it more often than not gets paired with a pet insurance policy or a second pet wellness plan. Ultimately, we chose to highlight companies that represent a range of coverage options, from preventative care and pre-existing conditions to prescriptions and emergency procedures.