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Pet Insurance That Pays the Vet Directly

Faran Ahmed
Faran Ahmed
Faran is a financial analyst with a knack for financial content writing. Besides pet insurance, he has written content for stock recommendations, crowdfunding platforms, and fintech startups. Faran is passionate about helping young entrepreneurs make better financial decisions by breaking down complex financial concepts and creating easy-to-understand content.

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Table of Contents

Pet insurance can help you save significant money on unexpected vet bills. Most pet insurance companies ask you to pay the vet bills out-of-pocket and then offer a reimbursement for the covered costs. However, some companies can pay your vet directly.

Key Takeaways

  • Most pet insurance companies can pay your vet directly if your vet agrees to be paid by the insurance provider.
  • Usually, the direct payment option is dependent on your vet’s decision. If your vet doesn’t accept direct payment, then you’ll have to pay them yourself.
  • Some insurance companies ask for written approval from the vet and pet owner to activate the direct-to-vet payment feature.
  • Some vets request a pre-authorization of claims before they accept direct payment from insurance companies.
  • Vets might not accept to be paid directly because of bad experiences with certain insurance providers.

Sometimes, you don’t have the money to pay the vet upfront. That’s why paying out the vet first and then waiting for reimbursement can be stressful. Thankfully, some insurance companies can pay your vet directly.

Depending on multiple factors, the payment process and conditions might vary between insurance providers. Some companies have a super convenient, easy-to-follow process. Others might require some work on your part.

We have found five pet insurance companies that can pay your vet directly, but before diving into that, let’s look at the difference between reimbursements and direct payments.

Reimbursement vs Direct Payment to your Vet

In a reimbursement model, your pet insurance company requires you to pay the vet upfront and then claim reimbursement. Once you make the payment, you collect a receipt for expenses and then make a claim to get reimbursed for covered costs.

On the other hand, Vet Direct Pay works differently. In this model, you don’t have to worry about paying vet bills yourself. Your insurance company will do this for you. However, to avoid any inconvenience, you have to be sure about two things:

  • Your pet insurance company has the direct-to-vet payment option
  • Your vet accepts payments directly from the insurance company

In some cases, veterinarians don’t accept direct payments from insurance companies. It could be due to bad experiences with certain companies, delayed payments, non-payments and other claim-related complications.

What Advantages Do Direct Payments Have?

If you have bought a comprehensive insurance plan, having a direct-to-vet payment option on top makes it a no-brainer deal for you and your pet.

Because pet insurance plans help provide the best care to your fluffy friend (whenever they need it) without worrying about your vet budget. This allows you to take your dog or cat to the vet whenever they get sick or injured without wasting time arranging funds.

With a direct-to-vet payment option, you can get your pets the treatment they need without draining your savings account or maxing out your credit card limit. Most importantly, it will save your precious time and allow you to take your pet to the vet before it’s too late.

Which Insurances Pay the Vet Directly?

We explored insurance plans offered by different companies with a feature to pay the vet directly. Each company is unique in terms of reputation, customer service, level of coverage and ease of the process.

Trupanion

Trupanion is one of the best and most commonly used companies offering pet insurance. They have a feature known as ‘Trupanion Express’ that supports vet direct pay.

But do you know why it’s at the top of our list? Because it’s the only vet direct pay option that pays the vet at the time of checkout. That’s why it is trusted by most vets.

If your vet agrees to accept direct payment from the company, then Trupanion can pay the vet bills at the time of checkout. However, before taking your pet to the vet, you should make sure that your vet accepts direct payments from Trupanion.

They have a lookup feature on their website that shows which vets accept direct payments. You can use this feature and locate your vet on Trupanion’s website.

If you can see your vet listed in the vet direct pay category, here’s what the payment process will look like:

  • Your veterinary hospital will submit a claim with Trupanion at checkout
  • You will be responsible for paying your portion of the vet bill at checkout
  • Trupanion will pay will review the claim and pay your vet on the same day

If your pet is not listed on Trupanion’s vet network, then you have two options.

Either, you can ask your vet to set up a direct payment option for you. Or, you can go with the traditional approach where you pay the vet upfront and then file a claim to be reimbursed.

Healthy Paws

Healthy Paws asks you to pay the vet upfront and file a claim to be reimbursed later. However, they understand that sometimes pet parents need extra support to cover expensive vet bills.

That’s why, for those customers who need it, they also offer an option to pay the vet directly. You only need to confirm that your vet agrees to get paid directly by the insurance company.

As long as your vet is willing to get direct payments, you can request Healthy Paws to set up a direct payment option for you. Once you contact the insurance provider, a claims representative will give your pet’s medical record to the vet and initiate the claim and payment process.

Healthy Paws can make a direct payment to any licensed vet in the USA belonging to any network. You only need to ensure that your vet agrees to be paid this way.

However, you should note that Healthy Paws’ direct-to-vet payment option is only available during business hours (Mon-Fri from 7 am to 4 pm PST and Sat from 8 am to 5 pm PST).

With Healthy Paws, it’s easy to manage claims because of their convenient and swift reimbursement system. Like other insurance companies, they don’t ask you to submit a claim form. Everything can be done online through their website or mobile app.

Pets Best

Pets Best has a direct payment option available on all insurance plans. To take advantage of their vet direct pay feature, you need to do some extra paperwork. However, if this saves you from shelling out thousands of dollars in veterinary care, then it’s all worth it.

Here’s how you can use Pets Best’s vet direct pay feature:

  • Firstly, your vet needs to agree to a direct payment from the insurance provider. Once the vet agrees, you have to download the ‘vet direct pay release’ form available on the Pets Best website.
  • The next step is to fill the form with your information, your vet’s information and the details of your claim, and ask your vet to sign it.
  • Now, you’ll have to send this form along with your claim to your insurance company online or through an email or mobile app.
  • Once your claim is received, Pets Best will process it and send the payment to your vet within five business days. Note, you’ll still have to pay deductibles, co-insurance and other items that are not covered in vet direct pay.

Although Pets Best requires you to do more legwork than other providers, it offers one of the best rates and most comprehensive coverage plans, making it one of the best out there.

Petplan

Petplan can pay your vet directly if your vet agrees to receive payments directly from the insurance provider. To set up a direct-to-vet payment option, you must send written approval to Petplan confirming you and your vet are requesting direct payment.

This request must be written on your vet’s letterhead and sent from your vet’s office using their email address. Once this information is sent to Petplan, you can begin working on your claim and submit an invoice received from your vet.

Petplan will calculate your financial responsibility and ask you to pay any excess amount, including co-pay or deductibles, that might be due. Once these amounts are settled, Petplan will send a direct payment to your vet.

Petplan typically reimburses all claims within 30 days of receiving all the required documents.

Petplan offers three different types of insurance plans based on the level of coverage: bronze, silver and gold. These insurance plans don’t cover pet wellness plans. However, you need to have basic wellness and preventive care routine to maintain a Petplan policy.

Companion Protect

Companion Protect is another insurance company that comes with a vet direct pay option. Also, it offers 90% coverage, a 10% co-pay, affordable $100 deductible and non-discriminatory insurance packages for all breeds.

If your pet is on one of their insurance plans, then you might have to use one of their in-network veterinarians to benefit from vet direct pay. If your vet is in their network, then he or she will have to submit a claim (for covered procedures) on your behalf and get reimbursed directly.

It’s a fantastic solution for pet owners, but not as efficient if your vet is not in their network.

When you choose an out-of-network vet with Companion Protect, you might have to go with a lower reimbursement rate, higher co-pay and deductible amount and no direct pay. They give extra incentives to their in-network vets, which is a quite unusual practice in pet insurance.

Most pet insurance companies will allow you to work with any U.S. licensed vet and offer reimbursements on the covered cost. That’s the reason Companion Protect is at the bottom of our list, despite having incredible coverage options and affordable rates.

Summary of Pet Insurance that Pays the Vet Directly

Insurance Provider Pays Vet Directly Details
Trupanion Yes Only company that pays the vet at checkout. If your vet agrees, Trupanion can make the payment at the time of checkout. You can check your vet’s eligibility on Trupanion’s website. If eligible, your vet will get paid on the day of submitting the claim.
Healthy Paws Yes If you need it, you can ask them to pay your vet directly. They can pay any vet licensed in the US no matter their network. They only make direct payments during business hours and don’t ask you to submit a claim form.
Pets Best Yes Pets Best offers vet direct pay as an option on all plans. You have to download a ‘vet direct pay release’ form and send it to your insurance company along with a signed copy of your claim.
Petplan Yes If your vet agrees, Petplan can make a direct payment. To activate this feature, your vet has to send a written request to your insurance provider. The request must be written on the vet’s letterhead and sent from their office.
Companion Protect Yes They have a network of vets they work with. If your vet is in their network, then they can submit a claim on your behalf and get paid directly. If your vet is not in their network, you might not be eligible for vet direct pay.

What to Look Out For When It Comes to Pet Insurance and Direct Payments to the Vet?

Although most pet insurance companies have an option of paying the vet directly, not every vet is willing to get paid this way. Therefore, it’s always better to ensure that your insurance provider has this option available and also check if your vet accepts payments this way.

Some vets may request a pre-authorization for potential claims for accepting direct-to-vet payment. Pre-authorization reassures your vet that they’ll get paid once the claim is filed for reimbursement. Without pre-authorization, they might ask you to pay the bill upfront at the time of service.

Since the decision to accept direct payments is your vet’s, It’s important to discuss your options with your vet in advance. Your vet might be able to recommend you some companies that they would potentially like to work with.

Pre-authorization of your claims increases your chances of getting a vet direct pay service. Do you know why? Because pre-authorization essentially confirms that your pet is covered (for the treatments performed at the vet) and your insurance provider agrees to pay the vet.

This way, your vet won’t be worried about non-payment or any other inconvenience. So, don’t be surprised if your vet asks for a pre-authorization of claims.

Direct payments depend mostly on your vet and their experience with insurance companies. However, asking your vet and knowing your insurance policy beforehand can increase your odds of convincing your vet to get a direct payment.

Lastly, you need to be aware that your vet might charge an additional $10 to $20 as an admin fee for handling pre-authorization paperwork and dealing with the insurance company.

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