What Are Chronic Illness Plans?

Like preventive care plans, chronic illness plans are bundles of health services that pet parents pay for monthly when their pet has a long-term condition. These bundles can include a variety of products and services, such as:


  • Exams
  • Diagnostic tests
  • Medications
  • Nutrition

Chronic illness plans carry a number of benefits. The plans give pet parents the peace of mind of knowing they’re providing the best care for their furry family member. With regular monthly payments, the plans also offer welcome predictability to pet parents, along with a consistent revenue stream to the practice.


Research shows that monthly payment plans are a win for pet health. In a 2020 study of 1,894 veterinary practices, clients were more likely to agree to recommended treatments when the practice offered monthly payments.


The research further showed that pet parents were more attuned to the amount they were asked to spend in a single visit, rather than what they spent across an entire year. In other words, pet parents may be inclined to spend more annually on veterinary services when the service cost is divided into monthly payments.


However, predictable monthly payments shouldn’t be confused with discounting. In most cases, monthly payments are sufficient for a pet parent to agree to the recommended care.


Instead, chronic illness plans drive value by encouraging the pet parent and doctor to collaborate on a pet’s long-term care. This collaboration can nurture closer ties between doctors and clients while making sure pets receive the proper health services.


With chronic illness plans, veterinarians can cater to specific conditions they often encounter, such as with breeds prone to hyperthyroidism or diabetes and so on. The type of chronic illness plans can run the gamut, encompassing bundles of services that include, but aren’t limited to:


  • Cushing’s disease
  • Addison’s disease
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Kidney disease
  • Hyperthyroidism

Ideally, chronic illness plans should offer the ability to incorporate periodic additional treatments into the monthly payment as health issues arise.


Chronic illness plans also can address the need for rehabilitation. For example, a chronic illness plan for cranial cruciate ligament tear could include pain management medications, rehabilitation, and special nutrition for weight management.


The types of possible plans are nearly limitless, constrained only by whether a practice’s plan platform is robust enough to support administration, mid-stream service additions, payment management, pet parent communications, marketing, and other critical activities.


Next week, we’ll discuss the industry forces and health issues that may accelerate the need for chronic illness plans in the future.


Have questions about chronic illness plans? Contact sales@vcp.vet.

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