AVMA Guidelines on Pet Health Insurance for Veterinarians

[8.19.2013 version]

Because the AVMA recognizes that ethical, dependable and viable pet health insurance companies are important partners in helping pet owners both accept and afford the high quality and advanced veterinary services that practitioners seek to provide, American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) recommends that veterinary practitioners identify, work with, and recommend one or two specific pet insurance companies to their clients.

In this spirit of this partnership between the veterinary and pet health insurance industries, pet insurance companies comply with these guiding principles that have been drafted with the assistance of the North American Pet Health Insurance Association.

Pet health insurance programs will:

  1. require a veterinarian/client/patient relationship in which the veterinarian  is responsible for monitoring the health of the pet
  2. allow pet owners to choose their own veterinarian, including specialists and emergency/critical care facilities the pet may need
  3. never interfere with the veterinarian’s fee structure
  4. be offered only where the policies are approved by the state insurance regulatory  agency and meet the ethical standards  of the pet health insurance industry
  5. use a licensed veterinarian to assist in claims adjudication
  6. be clear about their policy limits, pricing structure, and optional coverages (for example, wellness coverage for annual visits)  that might be available to the policy holder
  7. be transparent about how the terms and conditions of their plans will impact  coverage and cost, including the financial obligations of the  policy holder such as co-pays, deductibles, and exclusions
  8. communicate about the fee reimbursement process clearly (how reimbursement is determined and how quickly reimbursements are provided to the policy holder)