Stiftung Tierärztliche Hochschule Hannover (TiHo)TiHo eLib

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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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