What is the difference between a wellness plan and insurance?
The primary difference between a wellness program and insurance lies in their respective purposes: wellness plans reimburse horse owners for preventive care and services aimed at maintaining their horses’ health, which can be used at any time without limitations based on age, breed, or pre-existing conditions. In contrast, insurance covers specific plan-related expenses and is typically applicable in cases of unforeseen illness and injury.
Wellness programs for horses can offer various benefits, including:
Improved Health: Regular check-ups, vaccinations, and preventive care can help maintain a horse’s overall health and detect issues early.
Enhanced Performance: Proper nutrition, exercise, and conditioning can improve a horse’s athletic performance and longevity.
Early Disease Detection: Wellness programs may include routine blood tests and health assessments, allowing for early detection of illnesses.
Stress Reduction: A well-structured program can reduce stress and anxiety in horses, leading to better behavior and mental well-being.
Weight Management: Monitoring a horse’s weight and body condition can prevent obesity and related health problems.
Dental Care: Regular dental check-ups and maintenance can ensure proper chewing and digestion.
Hoof Health: Proper hoof care is essential for a horse’s mobility and comfort; wellness programs can address this.
Parasite Control: Regular deworming and fecal testing can help control internal parasites.
Tailored Nutrition: Customized diets can meet a horse’s specific nutritional needs for optimal health.
Longevity: Wellness programs can contribute to a horse’s longevity and quality of life.
Wellness programs are designed to enable horse owners to focus on the health and wellness of their horse(s) while also saving time and money.
Some wellness programs are integrated with veterinary practice management software platforms, which allows them to travel with you and your horse wherever you may be. Just as with electronic medical records, having a wellness program in place before you need it provides peace of mind and enables you to provide the best care for your horse without unexpected or unplanned financial burdens.
Essential Things to Look for In a Horse Wellness Program: Questions to Ask
Make sure that the program that you choose is designed by equine veterinarians. Equine veterinarians know the unique health needs and challenges of our horses.
Ask if you can use the veterinarian of your choice. Are there in-network and out-of-network providers? Many wellness plans are practice specific. This can be quite limiting if you are traveling with your horse.
- Ask how soon after signing up for a wellness plan, benefits become available. Is there a waiting period? Are pre-existing conditions covered?
- Are there varying tiers with different levels of coverage offered? What is covered in each tier? What is NOT covered? Are surgeries (colic surgery) and emergencies covered or only routine care?
- How are claims submitted? Does the wellness plan provider have an online portal that allows you to manage and view your claims? How long until you are reimbursed?
- Does the wellness plan offer any loyalty perks for plan participants? Some wellness plans offer mortality benefits.
- Is an exam required prior to enrollment?
- Are there periods of open enrollment, or can your horse be enrolled at any time throughout the year?
Be clear on what your requirements are as a plan participant.
- How many routine exams are required annually?
- What are the cancellation policies?
- Are monthly payment options available, or do you have to pay annually upfront? If upfront payment is required, is the plan refundable in the event your horse passes away?
- Is the wellness plan transferrable to another horse or a new owner?
What Can I Expect to Pay for A Wellness Plan?
The cost of a wellness plan varies by provider. The more benefits offered, the greater you can expect the cost to be. Cost also varies based on whether or not the wellness plan is practice specific. Some practice specific plans can be as low as $50 per horse per month. More comprehensive plans allowing you to select the veterinarian and clinic of your choice can cost as much as $500 per horse per month.
Do I Need a Wellness Plan?
As the old saying goes, hindsight is 20/20. The only thing second to worrying about the health of a beloved animal is worrying about how to pay for it. With numerous wellness plans becoming available, there is sure to be a plan that meets your individual needs and budget.
To learn more about equine wellness products, please contact Business Infusions today. We look forward to continuing this discussion with you.
Written by: Cynthia Tucker Bain