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Article

Is Pet Health Insurance Able to Improve Veterinary Care? Why Pet Health Insurance for Dogs and Cats Has Limits: An Ethical Consideration on Pet Health Insurance

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Stiftung Tierärztliche Hochschule Hannover Institut für Tierhygiene, Tierschutz und Nutztierethologie (ITTN), Bischofsholer Damm 15, Gebäude 116, 30173 Hannover, Germany
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Stiftung Tierärztliche Hochschule Hannover Klinik für Kleintiere, Bünteweg 9, Gebäude 280, 30559 Hannover, Germany
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Alexandra Whittaker
Animals 2022, 12(13), 1728; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12131728
Received: 15 May 2022 / Revised: 27 June 2022 / Accepted: 1 July 2022 / Published: 4 July 2022
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animal Advocacy: Legal Status, Rights & Responsibilities)
The standards of veterinary medicine are increasingly approaching those of human medicine. As a result, the cost of veterinary medicine is also rising noticeably. For many veterinarians and also pet owners, the question therefore arises as to whether animal health insurance is a possible solution. Based on a thought model, we have classified pet owners into four groups according to their willingness to pay and their dispensable funds. We found that animal health insurance can reduce price discussions, but reaches its limits as soon as an animal owner can afford neither the veterinary costs nor a monthly insurance premium.
Background: Owners often feel the cost of veterinary care is too high, as there remains a limited understanding of the cost of health care in human and veterinary medicine alike. Pet health insurance is often seen as a universal solution. However, especially for patient owners with few financial resources, both the bill at the vet and the monthly premium for pet health insurance can become a challenge. Hypothesis: Pet health insurance can prevent or ease many price discussions at the vet, but it does not offer a solution for patient owners with little financial means. Methods: In order to verify for which patient owners pet health insurance can be a solution, four theoretical groups were formed depending on the patient owner’s willingness to pay and his/her dispensable funds based on a theoretical model. Results: Dispensable funds are a factor that cannot be influenced by the veterinary surgeon. However, low dispensable funds as a result of an insufficient willingness to save (whether due to a lack of financial education or a lack of will) can be solved by pet health insurance. Willingness to pay, on the other hand, can be influenced by empathetic communication from the veterinary surgeon and thus also from pet health insurance. Nevertheless, situations remain where pet health insurance is not a solution either, because owners can neither afford the veterinary costs nor a premium for a pet health insurance. View Full-Text
Keywords: pet health insurance; animal ethics; animal welfare; price discussions pet health insurance; animal ethics; animal welfare; price discussions
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MDPI and ACS Style

Becker, M.; Volk, H.; Kunzmann, P. Is Pet Health Insurance Able to Improve Veterinary Care? Why Pet Health Insurance for Dogs and Cats Has Limits: An Ethical Consideration on Pet Health Insurance. Animals 2022, 12, 1728. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12131728

AMA Style

Becker M, Volk H, Kunzmann P. Is Pet Health Insurance Able to Improve Veterinary Care? Why Pet Health Insurance for Dogs and Cats Has Limits: An Ethical Consideration on Pet Health Insurance. Animals. 2022; 12(13):1728. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12131728

Chicago/Turabian Style

Becker, Michelle, Holger Volk, and Peter Kunzmann. 2022. "Is Pet Health Insurance Able to Improve Veterinary Care? Why Pet Health Insurance for Dogs and Cats Has Limits: An Ethical Consideration on Pet Health Insurance" Animals 12, no. 13: 1728. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12131728

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