Capital Blue Cross, a major health insurer based in Harrisburg, has announced that it will start selling pet insurance.
Officials from the company believe that this act will make Capital Blue Cross the first insurer to offer pet insurance policies.
The program will be managed by PetPlan, a company based in Philadelphia.
Stacy Balaban, the strategic development director for Capital Blue Cross explained that many Americans think of their pets as members of their families, so it makes a lot of sense to offer a new program such as this one. Approximately 500 people had participated in a Harrisburg health fair for pets and people last week in order to obtain more information about the program.
Founder of PetPlan, Chris Ashton, has estimated that there are approximately 1 million insured pets in the United States.
It is important to note, though, that there is a difference between pet insurance and health insurance for humans. According to Dr. Kenton Rexford from the Pittsburgh Veterinary Specialty & Emergency Center, in the majority of cases, even when covered by a pet insurance policies, owners must first pay the veterinarians for their pet care services, “then you’re going to submit documents to your insurance company and they’re going to reimburse you.”
Rexford went on to pose a question about the value of pet insurance, saying that he could take the deductible amount – the money he’d be paying anyway even if he had insurance – and keep it in a special savings account for a few years to make interest. He wonders at that point if it would be worth it to pay insurance premiums.