What does a pet wellness plan cover?
A pet wellness plan is either a standalone plan or a part of a bigger pet insurance plan that covers routine pet care such as vaccinations, spay and neuter, heartworm tests, fecal screens and more.
Typically, the way a pet wellness plan works is by providing coverage up to a certain dollar amount. For instance, with ASPCA’s Routine Wellness plan, you get $40 annually for annual exams, $15 toward a fecal screen, $80 toward spay/neuter and $20 toward a microchip all for $10/month. With their Advanced Wellness plan at $25/month, you get up to $400 in annual benefits toward your pet’s wellness care.
In these cases, you are still responsible for paying the difference between what your pet wellness plan covers and what the vet charges.
What does a wellness plan not cover?
Pet wellness plans usually do not cover things like dental care, illness or injury. They are not pet insurance, so unless you bundle them with a true pet insurance plan, you are still on the hook for high vet office bills if something goes wrong with your pet’s health.
Pet Wellness Plans vs Pet Insurance
Wellness plans typically do not factor into your deductible, and rather are on a benefit schedule with an agreed-upon amount paid for certain services. They cover routine exams, vaccinations, spay/neuter, routine blood work, fecal exams, teeth cleanings and flea, tick and heartworm prevention.
Pet insurance plans cover accident and illness, emergency and specialist care, prescriptions, orthopedics and hereditary and congenital conditions.
We took a look at several pet wellness plans to see what they offer:
Banfield Wellness Plans
Banfield offers pet wellness plans only, not pet insurance. Their plans are designed to help you maintain and keep optimal pet health with preventive pet health care. We checked to see what it would cost to get our Newfoundland covered under a basic pet wellness plan (the Special Care plan) plus dental cleanings plus other care including flea and tick prevention, and the cost came to $48.95 per month.
With Banfield, you need to use all of the services or the monthly cost won’t make sense. They have three wellness plans for dogs: Essential Wellness, Active Prevention and Special Care.
The Essential Wellness plan covers vaccinations, diagnostic testing, a comprehensive physical exam (2 a year), fecal exams and deworming. Active Prevention covers the same as well as dental cleaning and urine testing. The Special Care plan covers the same as the others, plus preventive x-rays, eye pressure test, ECGs, as well as a higher discount on other Banfield products.
With Banfield, you can also add spay and neuter, parasite control, genetic analysis, chronic care options and more.
You will enter into an annual agreement, with the monthly cost spread over 12 months. You can upgrade or downgrade at any time with your 12 months starting over from that point, and if you do cancel before the 12 months is up and you have used services, you are still responsible to pay for the services for as many months as that takes.
Embrace Wellness Plans
Embrace offers Pet Wellness Rewards, which is their version of a pet wellness plan. They offer reimbursement at $250, $450 and $650 per year, and they recommend that you start with the higher plan for puppies and then work your way down.
You will get reimbursed for a variety of items, ranging from wellness exams and vaccinations to chiropractic care and Reiki. Embrace also reimburses for some unique things like training and massage therapy.
Healthy Paws Wellness Coverage
Healthy Paws is one of the few modern plans that does not offer coverage for preventive care. You can, however, pair it with a plan like Banfield, or you can pay out-of-pocket for wellness care.
Pets Best Wellness Plans
Pets Best has two different options for pet wellness: EssentialWellness at $16/month and BestWellness at $26/month. All plans work on a benefit schedule, and do not apply to the deductible and the deductible does not need to be met for these to take effect.
Here is a look at some of what the plans cover:
The total annual coverage for the Essential plan is $305, and the Best plan is $535 in benefits. Rates are slightly different in Washington, but when you get a quote, you will enter your zip and see exact amounts.
PetPremium Wellness Plans
PetPremium has three options for pet wellness: Basic, Standard and Prime. The monthly premiums are $9.95, $14.95 and $24.95, respectively. You will receive $250, $350, or $500 in annual benefits.
The PetPremium benefits schedule includes things like wellness exams, vaccinations, deworming, dental cleaning on most plans, and blood tests, Bordetella vaccine, and urinalysis on the Prime plan.
Even if your dog or cat is healthy, their wellness care can cost close to $1,000 per year in their first couple of years of life, and several hundred a year thereafter. Since pet wellness plans are broken down into an even monthly cost, this allows you to budget while still getting your pet all of the routine and wellness care they need without having to go broke in the process.