In this episode, I interview Dr. Kerri Marshall, the Chief Veterinary Officer at Trupanion pet insurance company.
We talk about:
- What she does at Trupanion.
- Her background at Banfield prior to joining the staff at Trupanion.
- Her experience with the electronic medical record and what role it may play in the future of pet insurance, particularly when submitting a claim or medical records needed by the pet insurance company to verify coverage - resulting in a much quicker reimbursement to the pet owner.
- The medical record review process and how pet owners can know if their pet has any conditions that will be considered pre-exisiting and not covered by the insurance policy.
- Covering not only puppies and kittens, but also those adopted when older from shelters or rescue organizations.
There is something I want to mention about Banfield. I often see people say, "I have Banfield pet insurance." What Banfield offers isn't insurance, but a prepaid wellness plan that includes various wellness procedures and possibly discounts on services or products for your pet. There are different levels of plans and they are usually paid monthly as a recurring charge on your credit card.
In fact, other veterinary hospitals are starting to copy the Banfield model of offering monthly payment wellness care plans.
While I am a big proponent of wellness care (The Wise Pet Owner), such wellness plans should never be a substitute for pet insurance. Usually, you can only have these procedures done and receive the discounts at a Banfield hospital or the hospital you purchased the plan. What if your pet has to go to an emergency clinic or specialty hospital for a serious illness or injury where fees are usually higher than your regular veterinarian's fees? This is where pet insurance would come in handy since you can file a claim for reimbursement for treatment received at virutally any veterinary, emergency, or specialty hospital in the United States.
I believe that wellness (preventative) care and pet insurance compliment each other. In my opinion, neither should be so expensive that the pet owner can't afford to do both in the best interest of the pet.
You might also be interested in this podcast interview with Dr. Marshall where she talks about Trupanion Express - the program they were working on when this first interview was recorded.