Does your employer offer you the option of a pet insurance benefit? Apparently many more are these days; California-based Veterinary Pet Insurance or VPI (800-872-7387, petinsurance.com) is reporting a 35 percent increase since 2005 in the number of companies and associations that offer the perk in their voluntary benefits package.
“In the late 1990s, VPI’s corporate benefits program was created as a way to reward veterinary hospital employees with a discount on pet health insurance,” noted VPI President and CEO Dennis Drent. “The transition from approaching hospitals to all types of businesses was a logical and steady progression that involved world-class companies like VIACOM, Ford Motor Company and Office Depot adding VPI Pet Insurance as a voluntary benefit.”
The list of companies that offer the pet insurance benefit at a group discount ranges from startup businesses to industry giants like Proctor and Gamble. Companies with more than 500 employees are also allowed to offer payroll deduction for monthly premium payments. Employee sign-up for pet health insurance is not restricted to open enrollment periods.
“Offering insurance for our employees’ pets helps us demonstrate to our staff how committed our organization is to not only their health, but to the well-being of their beloved pets who are often considered part of their extended family,” said Sherri Nolan, vice president of human resources for the American Cancer Society’s South Atlantic Division, which has been offering VPI Pet Insurance to its staff for two years.
Right now pet health insurance doesn’t qualify as a pretax medical benefit, but that could possibly change. The Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association reports that the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) will ask Congress to pass legislation amending Section 125 of the Internal Revenue Service Code to include pet health insurance as a pretax option when enrolling through a company’s benefits program.