How To Not Break The Bank With Pet Wellness Plans

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Dog with barbell in mouth: Pet Wellness PlansMany pet parents don’t realize that pet insurance differs from human health insurance in that most veterinary pet insurance plans don’t cover routine wellness visits and other services. They are designed to help you manage your budget for unplanned emergencies or illnesses that could break the bank. If you are looking for a plan to cover routine visits instead, there are still options to get coverage for pet wellness visits.

Article Overview

Pet Wellness Plans vs Pet Insurance: What’s The Difference?

Pet insurance plans typically cover accident and illness services but not routine wellness veterinary visits and other services. Here’s a general list of what pet wellness plans vs pet insurance offers. (Please know that wellness and pet insurance plans vary in what they cover based on company and coverage selected. Therefore, some policies may not cover what is listed below – read the policy carefully before signing up.)

Wellness Plan CoveragePet Insurance Coverage
Annual examsAccidents
Routine blood panelsEmergency care
Heartworm testingHereditary and congenital conditions
Fecal testingOrthopedic conditions
UrinalysesPrescription medications
Routine vaccinations (rabies, DHLP, bordetella, parvo, lyme, giardia)X-Rays, MRIs, Cat Scans, Ultrasounds, etc.
Teeth cleaningsTherapy
Flea, tick and heartworm treatmentsSurgery

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How Do Wellness Plans Work?

In most cases, you must sign up for pet insurance, and the insurance company’s dog wellness plan is offered as an optional add-on. Unfortunately, not all insurance companies offer this add-on option. We hope to see more companies offering wellness plans in the future in addition to offering them as stand-alone plans.

Pet Insurance Companies That Offer Wellness Add-ons

Note: One of our top-ranked pet insurance companies (Pets Best) is reviewed first and then companies are listed in alphabetical order below.

Pets Best Routine Care Coverage

Pets Best Pet Health Insurance logoVisit Website

As one of our top-ranked pet insurance companies, we wanted to point out the benefits and features of this plan first as a wellness add-on to an excellent pet insurance product.

Pets Best has 2 choices for more typical add-on wellness or routine care plan, EssentialWellness and BestWellness. These wellness plans are add-ons to the health insurance product and covers many different services and treatments. However, there’s a per item limit (unlike Embrace, where you only have an annual cap for all services).

You can only add the wellness plan within 30 days of enrolling in its pet veterinary insurance program or at its annual renewal. With Pets Best, you pay $14-30 per month (price depends on which plan your choose and the state you live in), but it’s based on a per item basis (i.e. annual exam is covered for $50, vaccinations are $80, etc.).

Pets Best has no deductible and coverage begins the day after you enroll. Below are the specifics for Pets Best’s Routine Care plans.

Price Per Month$16 ($14 in Washington)$26 ($30 in Washington)
Spay/Neuter - Teeth Cleaning$0$150
Flea/Tick Prevention$50$65
Heartworm Prevention$30$30
Wellness Exam$50$50
Heartworm Test of FELV Screen$25$30
Blood, Fecal, Parasite Exam$50$70
Urinalysis or ERD$15$25
Total Annual Benefits$305$535

Read More About Pets Best In Our In-Depth Review

24PetWatch Wellness Coverage

Visit Website24PetWatch logo

24PetWatch offers 2 wellness plans: Routine Wellness and Advanced Wellness.

Both plans have limits on what 24PetWatch will cover per item. Plans start at $10 per month for Routine Wellness and $25 per month for Advanced Wellness. There is no deductible or co-pay. Below are the details for 24PetWatch wellness plans.

 Routine WellnessAdvanced Wellness
Dental cleaningN/A$100
Fecal screen$15$15
Heartworm/flea preventionN/A$55
Heartworm test or FELV screen$15$15
Microchip procedure and/or urinalysis$20$20
Spay/neuter procedure and/or wellness blood test$80$100
Wellness exam$40$50
Canine bordetella vaccine/titer or feline FELV vaccine/titerN/A$15
Canine DHLPP vaccine/titer or feline FVRCP vaccine/titer$15$15
Rabies vaccine/titer and/or Lyme vaccine/titer, or FIP vaccine/titer$15$15

Read More About 24PetWatch In Our In-Depth Review

AKC Wellness Coverage

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AKC has 2 plans to choose from, Defender and DefenderPlus.

AKC reimburses a set dollar amount per year toward items. There are no waiting periods or deductibles.

Rabiees vaccination$15$15
Flea/tick prevention$50$65
Heartworm Prevention$30$30
Wellness exam$50$50
Heartworm test of FELV screen$25$30
Blood, fecal, parasite exams$50$70
Urinalysis or ERD$15$25
Spay/neuter or teeth cleaning$0$150
Benefit Value$305$535
Your Cost$192$312

ASPCA Pet Health Insurance/Hartville

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Similar to other companies in this space, ASPCA offers 2 optional preventative plans: Basic and Prime. The same product is also offered under the Hartville brand name.

There is no waiting period or deductible for these plans.

 Basic Preventative CarePrime Preventative Care
Price per month$9.95$24.95
Dental cleaning$100$175
Wellness exam$50$50
Health Certificate$0$25
Fleas/heartworm prevention$0$50
DHLPP vaccine/titer$20$25
Rabies or lyme vaccine/titer$20$25
Bordatella vaccine/titer$0$25
Fecal test$20$25
Heartworm test$20$25
Blood test$0$25
Total Annual Benefits$250$500

Read More About ASPCA/Hartville In Our In-Depth Review

Embrace Pet Insurance Wellness Rewards

Embrace logo

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Embrace offers one of the most flexible wellness plans that you can add-on to any pet health insurance policy. You pay a monthly fee on top of your insurance — $18.95 per month covers up to $250 annual wellness expenses, $34.21 per month for a $450 annual cap and $49.42 per month for $650 annual expenses.

Coverage begins the day you sign up and there is no deductible. It covers a ton of treatments and services including: wellness exams, vaccinations & titers, flea, tick & heartworm meds, spay/neuter surgery, fecal & routine blood tests, microchipping, umbilical hernia repair, grooming, medicated shampoos, toe nail trimming, routine anal gland expression, pet activity monitors, cremation or burial, gastropexy, nutritional supplements, training: behavioral/obedience/specialty, routine chiropractic care, reiki, massage therapy, acupuncture, teeth cleaning, prescription diet food purchased at vet, and ofa & pennhip exams/x-rays.

Read More About Embrace In Our In-Depth Review

Nationwide Wellness Coverage Plans

Visit WebsiteNationwide Pet Insurance logo

Nationwide offers two wellness plans, Wellness Plus and Wellness Basic. Wellness plans are not available in all states and premiums are determined on the species of the pet, plan type and state of residence.

Nationwide lets you enroll in wellness coverage without purchasing a pet insurance plan first. All you have to do is call them at 800-872-7387.

 Wellness PlusWellness Basic
Price per month$17-$22$12-$18
Maximum annual benefit$500$400
Physical exam: 2 per policy term$60 ($30 max per exam)$50 ($25 max per exam)
Behavioral exam and/or treatment$30$30
Vaccination or titer$75$50
Heartworm or FeLV/FIV test$35$30
Fecal test$25$15
Nail trim$20$20
Health certificate$40$40
Flea control or heartworm prevention$75$50
One additional test: health screen (blood test), radiograph (X-rays) or electrocardiogram (EKG)$75 (one test per policy term)$50 (one test per policy term)

Read More About Nationwide In Our In-Depth Review

Wellness Only Plan

There is only one national company that offers wellness as a standalone product today and it is Banfield.

Banfield Wellness Plan

Banfield Pet Hospital logoVisit Website

Banfield stands apart from other veterinary wellness plans in that you don’t have to purchase health insurance to get a wellness policy. This should make this option cheaper than the competition HOWEVER, it will not cover illness, accidents or chronic conditions. Banfield only covers routine care. With Banfield, you’re required to visit a Banfield Pet Hospital, which you can find at your local PetSmart store—there are nearly 1,000 across the country.

Its plans offer preventive care, including bi-annual wellness exams, vaccinations, dental cleaning, parasite control, nutrition and behavioral services. It charges a one-time sign-up fee, with monthly payments starting at $12.95. Prices vary by age, species, location and other factors, and it offers wellness plans for puppies, adult dogs and other pets.

Read More About Banfield Wellness Plan In Our In-Depth Review

Should You Consider A Wellness Plan, Pet Health Insurance Or Both?

Check out the following news coverage by a CBS affiliate in California that explores pet wellness plans and pet insurance.

How Can A Pet Wellness Plan Help Your Finances?

Even if your dog is healthy, preventative and routine care can add up quickly. Just consider how much you can save with a puppy wellness plan covering spay/neuter, vaccinations, heartworm preventative and more. Considering the affordable monthly costs of pet wellness plans, it makes sense if you want to raise a healthy dog without breaking the bank.

What experiences have you had with pet wellness plans?

Disclaimer: Information regarding insurance company offerings, pricing and other contract details are subject to change by the insurance company at any time and are not under the control of this website. Information published on this website is intended for reference use only. Please review your policy carefully before signing up for a new pet health insurance contract or any other contract as your unique circumstances will differ from those of others who may be used for example purposes in this article.
Disclaimer: The information provided through this website should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or a disease. It is not a substitute for professional care. If you have or suspect you may have a health problem, you should consult your health care provider.
Sally grew up in a feline-only home, but cat allergies in her early 20’s made it an easy transition to dog ownership. And she couldn’t be happier with her canine shadow, who’s been at her side (literally) for years. No longer a cat person for obvious reasons, Sally is now a true bone-ified dog lover.

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I have three pets that I would like to get pet insurance and possibly wellness plans for. One of our dogs had elevated ALP liver enzymes on her last physical, but otherwise had no indication of an issue, and the doctor said that it is likely nothing. Would something like that be considered a pre-existing condition, and therefore not be covered if she ended up developing Cushing’s Disease for example?
Michelle Schenker (Admin)
There is no clear-cut answer on this as it may vary by insurance company. We would encourage you to reach out to the top 2-3 companies that you are considering and ask them directly to be sure before you sign on the dotted line. Keep us posted – we’d love to hear how this works out for you.
I have a dog with the same issue. I had Trupanion. I asked the insurance to help cover the cost of a sonogram to help diagnose Cushings. They asked for prior vet records and then they denied the claim. Reason being she had blood work 5 yrs ago and it showed the elevated level (my vet at the time never mentioned it). I have since dropped the insurance. My dog continues to have an elevated ALP. We have conducted further tests, and have ruled out Cushings. So yes, I believe any prior condition or prior tests will deny your claim. Good luck!
Maybe I’m missing something here. I’m looking into Embrace and for the $650 annual max, it will cost (based on quote i received) $49.42 a month (just the wellness portion). Over twelve months, I am paying Embrace $593.04 to receive reimbursement of up to $650.00. Essentially, I pay $593.04 to get a $56.96 benefit. Why would would i do this and not just save the $49.42 in an account each month and use that on the routine maintenance and forgo all the paperwork?
Kimberly Alt (Admin)
Great question, Jen. The main reason you would opt for this wellness plan is if you knew you were going to take advantage of those features covered. Items include annual exams, grooming, anal gland expression, etc. If you have a dog who needs regular grooming, a wellness plan that covers grooming could save you money in the end. For instance, the groomer I take my dog to costs $50 to $125 depending on the dog’s size. If you have a dog with shaggy hair that needs cut regularly you could save a little bit by purchasing a wellness plan.

As you pointed out for your quote specifically, you’d be paying $593.04 for the year to receive up to $650 in wellness related reimbursements, saving you roughly $57 if you took full advantage of the plan. Like you said, you could just save that money monthly and pay out of pocket for it all, it’s up to you. However, you’re also getting pet insurance when you sign up for Embrace’s Wellness Rewards, which covers accidents and illnesses your dog may experience unexpectedly.

The big thing to remember before signing up for a wellness plan is researching what the maximum coverages are for various items. For example, some companies will only cover a certain dollar amount for teeth cleanings, grooming, annual exams, etc.

Let me know if that makes sense or if you have any questions. I want to make sure you’re fully informed before making a decision either way! 🙂

Interesting article, but in your reviews, you mentioned $250, $450, and $600. caps on wellness expenses. My comment is, at my vet (and all my previous vets) , I have easily spent over $400-600. each time we go! -for the visit, tests, medications, etc..What good is a plan if it has caps like these?
thanks, but these reviews are confusing and not realistic.
Kimberly Alt (Admin)
Hi Rich, it sounds like a wellness plan may be the most beneficial for someone in your case because you would be reaching your annual limit depending on the plan’s cap. If the cap is $600 annually and you spend $400 to $600 per year on wellness expenses you would be able to take full advantage of the plan’s benefits. However, on the opposite spectrum, when I take my dog to the vet it costs about $120, but she is in very good health. That $120 includes the appointment fee, vaccinations, flea/tick/heartworm medications, etc. So it would cost me more (or about the same) to pay for our dog’s wellness expenses on our own as it would if we purchased a wellness plan for her. However, the monthly fees vary based on the company you choose for a wellness plan and the caps included as well, so this may not be the case every time.

What in our reviews was confusing and not realistic? I’d love to be able to explain them further to you.

hello-thanks for the reply. I don’t know what vet you use or where you live…but the vets here charge over $65. just for the visit, so a visit with what you said (appt, vaccin., medications,) costs us way over $120.
And we spend often spend $400-600 A VISIT , not a year for check ups, medications, blood work, heartworm etc.
If the cap is 600$, how does that help us?
Kimberly Alt (Admin)
Hi Rich, how many visits does your dog have per year? How much would you say you spend per year on vet expenses and what is that categorized ($X for wellness, $X for illnesses, $X for injuries, etc.)? It’s hard to say what is best for your dog unless I get a better idea of what your dog’s vet history is like. Hope that makes sense and these questions aren’t too personal. I understand if you’d rather not share this information though. 🙂
hello Kimberly, thanks for the reply. Well, I have 2 older dogs so there’s that. And, for example, I took my golden to the vet on Saturday, and it was $286.00…($65-exam, $195 for Senior comprehensive screening & $24 for 14 Rimadyl. We’ll need more, if it helps…that’ll be @$60 a month. ) prob go to the vet about 4 times a year, including stuff like heartworm check, etc…and (heartworm medication is like $500. a dog) so…mostly check ups and things like that.It’s thousands of dollars. Each dog.

I’d like a plan for sure. I know of Banfields plan-only you have to keep paying monthly even if your pet passes away. And it doesn’t include medications either, I think.
thanks again!

Buy all your medications online. Much much cheaper. Sometimes half or less as much. (Check out the prices for Heartguard for example.) It saved me with sick cats and a dog.
I’d like to buy them online, but you need the vet to give you the script, or OK it, and they won’t do that!
How do you get your vet to do this?
You keep pay monthly after your pet dies is because you signed an agreement and are making monthly payments. That’s my take on it.
hello Kimberly, Well, I have 2 older dogs-a 12 yr old golden and a9 yr old Akita. so, for example, I took my golden to the vet yesterday and it cost me $286 for the exam,some blood work ,and a weeks worth of Rimadyl, including a $14.00 dispensing charge. I like my vet, they’re very thorough-but that’s the prices around here, I’ve checked out other vets and they charge about the same.
Most of the time the dogs just go to the vet for yearly check ups or heartworm medication but most of those plans don’t cover medication. The Banfield plan sounds good but one thing I don’t like is that you have to finish paying for the whole year even if your dog passes away, god forbid.
I would really like to get a wellness plan or an insurance plan but I just don’t see that it’s going to work out with those caps and/or monthly payments. thanks again!
Kimberly Alt (Admin)
Thanks for the in-depth details, this will help me analyze your situation further.

Looking at our rankings, Pets Best is the highest ranked pet insurance company that offers a wellness plan. The top plan is BestWellness and costs $26/month. It covers various things including $65 flea/tick prevention, $30 heartworm prevention, $40 vaccination/titer, $50 wellness exam, $30 heartworm test or FELV screen and more for each dog you purchase the policy for. Since you spend $500 alone on heartworm medications per dog per year, this plan wouldn’t be the best option for you since it only covers $30.

Embrace is the next company in our rankings that offers wellness rewards. It reimburses 100% of routine care costs up to the selected annual maximum you choose. This can be as high as $650 or as low as $250. It’s unclear as to whether or not this annual maximum goes toward any reimbursable item, or if it’s maxed out per category (like Pets Best’s is). I recommend reaching out to Embrace to see if the $650 would go toward any wellness related items your pet needs during the year or if only a certain amount can go toward heartworm, etc.

As for the Rimadyl prescription, that can be covered through any pet insurance company that covers prescription medications. Take a look at this comparison table and you’ll see that all of the pet insurance companies included in the table cover prescriptions, however, Embrace charges extra for it to be covered.

You mentioned Banfield and I wanted to share this link with you. I encourage you to read the comments section as well because we’ve gotten some feedback from customers of Banfield sharing their experience with the plan. So if you choose to go with them, I want you to be informed on what others have experienced.

The thing that’s tricky about your situation is that you spend $500/dog/year on heartworm medications. I don’t believe that would fall under prescription medications for most pet insurance providers because heartworm medication is considered preventative healthcare, so it is typically only covered through some type of wellness plan/rewards. If Embrace handles its maximum similar to Pets Best, then it doesn’t make sense for you to get either of those wellness plans/rewards because you’d be paying $30+ per month but only getting $30 for heartworm prevention, which is what you are really spending the majority of your money on.

I have a meeting later today with some of my coworkers and am going to mention your situation to them and see if they know of anything that I am overlooking. I’ll let you know if they have any suggestions for you to consider. Thanks for your patience and allowing me to help you through your decision making process.

Kimberly Alt (Admin)
Hi Rich, I just spoke with the team and we think in your situation it would be better to try to budget/save for these expenses because a wellness plan won’t cover $500 in heartworm medication for each dog. Sorry we couldn’t find a pet insurance plan for you. Let me know if you have any further questions and best of luck!
Writer needs to do some proper research, have some experience with dogs and cats. This person has no idea. Its not about damn finances, its about the animals welfare, sheesh
Kimberly Alt (Admin)
Hi Angel, I can assure you that our writer has experience with pets. I’m not sure what about this article makes you think that our writer/website thinks finances are more important than an animal’s welfare, but I can assure you this is not the case. Everyone who works on Canine Journal is an animal lover. We try to teach people that having a pet is a financial commitment as well and there are wellness and pet insurance plans that can relieve some of that burden. This article is an informational piece to help teach pet parents about various wellness plans.

In the past, we have received comments from our readers who have been unable to provide their pet with the medical care they need because of financial restrictions. It breaks our hearts to read these stories and we hope that more and more people are aware of their financial options when adding a pet to their family. To reiterate, we think the pet’s health should be the most important factor, above finances.

Claudia K
Definitely invest in a wellness plan if you get a new dog, well worth every penny! My new pup has had all her shots and spaying covered which has saved us from having to pay out of pocket for everything at once. I love the comfort of knowing my girl Charlie is in good hands with all her check ups just like her parents!
Another sucker with a dog thats doomed to die an early age
Why are you so rude? What’s the point in this comment????
Hi Claudia! We are getting two puppies and I have been researching the wellness option but it’s so overwhelming. Do you mind sharing which one you use? Thank you.
Did you ever find a good wellness plan? I’m doing my research as well
Kimberly Alt (Admin)
Let me know if you have any questions! 🙂
Hi there. We opted out of wellness and are only doing regular insurance for emergencies for illness or accident. We went through USAA insurance and they are partnered with Embrace. Good luck.
I don’t see USAA has having Pet Insurance.
Hi Tiffany,did Claudia respond to you about the name of her wellness plan? thx
How? You are only being reembursed for what you spent and get maybe $40 if you are maximizing the benefits.
CLAUDIA, I had my beagle for 14 years (no dog doomed to die at an early age). Im getting a cav and like the healthy paws ins for problems. Yes, could you please share the name of your wellness plan? Thanks very much