AAHA Seal of Acceptance
What is the purpose of the AAHA Seal of Acceptance?
The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) Seal of Acceptance program was established to help pet owners make educated decisions regarding quality pet care. AAHA wants to help pet owners make the right decision about how to meet their financial responsibility for the care of their pets. The cost of life-saving or life-extending care for a pet may go beyond an owner’s reasonable financial means, leaving the owner with the painful decision to euthanize a beloved pet or face major debt.
The Association urges all pet owners to seriously evaluate how they would handle the costs of care should they encounter the need for catastrophic or major veterinary expenses. For those who believe they would not have the means to handle such expenses through savings, credit cards or medical payment cards, pet health insurance merits serious consideration.
Although pet insurance policies are available with various limits, coverage, benefits, exclusions and deductibles, AAHA believes that most pet owners need coverage for catastrophic expenses. Many pet owners can manage expenses up to $500, but would have difficulty with expenses beyond that level. The Association has urged the pet insurance industry to make high-deductible policies available. These higher deductibles reduce premiums and make insurance a more viable option for many budgets.
Why is the AAHA Seal of Acceptance only available for high-deductible policies?
When the cost may go beyond reasonable financial means, many pet owners are forced to euthanize their pet or incur burdensome debt. Studies have shown that the majority of pet owners can manage expenses up to $500, but would have difficulty with expenses beyond that level. AAHA has urged the pet insurance industry to make high-deductible policies available that we believe are in the best interest of pets. These higher deductibles reduce premiums and make pet insurance a more viable option.
Is the AAHA Seal of Acceptance exclusive to a certain pet insurance company?
The AAHA Seal of Acceptance will be available to any pet insurance company that offers a high-deductible policy that meets the program’s criteria. It is important to note that it is the high-deductible policies of the companies that will receive acceptance, not the companies themselves.
Are there certain criteria that need to be met before a policy receives the AAHA Seal of Acceptance?
The AAHA Seal of Acceptance can be awarded to pet insurance policies with high levels of deductibles of at least $500. Additional and higher deductibles are encouraged, assuming they meet the criteria for the $500 deductible policy. Coverage, benefits and exclusions for the higher deductible policies must be at least equal to other policies offered by the company.
Marketing, sales and promotional materials must include the availability of the $500 deductible (or higher) policy option and may not steer pet owners away from these options. The seal may not be used on any materials that do not include the availability of high-deductible policies.
Pet health insurance policies of the company must be underwritten by companies with an AM Best rating (an independent third-party evaluation that subjects all insurers to the same rigorous criteria) of B+ or better. The company using the seal must be licensed to sell the high-deductible policies in all of the states or provinces in which it is licensed. For existing companies, the high-deductible policies must be approved for sale in at least 50 percent of the states in which the company is licensed, and the policies must have been filed in all other states where the company is licensed.
Will the AAHA Seal of Acceptance be awarded to policies that limit veterinary care options?
The policies of the company must allow the policy holder to seek care from a licensed veterinarian of their own choosing. The Seal of Acceptance will not be awarded to companies that require pet owners to use the services of practices that are only included in a network or similar grouping.