Our Resolution With PetPlan Pet Insurance
I thought it would be best to update everyone with our recent dealings with PetPlan Pet Insurance and the health of our little guy, Baxter the Boston Terrier. Let me start this post with a disclaimer, I have deleted all of our posts on iBostonTerrier.com and our social media pages regarding the topic so that we can have any and all discussions regarding the pet insurance in one place.
Let me state again that I do not condone and was not proud of the type of online force that we used against PetPlan in regards to Baxter’s claim. Unfortunately, as any pet parent would, we decided that it was our last option in ensuring the health and well-being of Baxter and helping to nudge PetPlan into appealing our claim. If anything came out of this, we all learned more about how pet insurance works and PetPlan can now assess the way clients are treated and claims are submitted to them.
For those unaware with this situation, I’ll provide a very brief recap on Baxter’s situation and our dealings with PetPlan to this point. We rescued Baxter mid-2012 when he was roughly 9-10 weeks old. He was purchased from a breeder and shipped to a man here in Las Vegas, NV. After about a week of puppy life, the man decided that his lifestyle did not fit the need of the puppy and emailed us asking if we knew what to do with Baxter (Froggie at the time). We were there that day and my wife and I watched as Baxter and Sophie chased each other around and played. We had finally found the perfect brother for Sophie. During his first checkup, he was given his puppy shots, tested for parasites and worms and treated for a slight ear infection, all routine stuff. Now we’ll fast forward to June 2013.
In June, we noticed Baxter dragging his body across the carpet like a snake. This wasn’t for a few feet, he literally dragged himself from one room to another, picking up a toy and continuing to “slither” around. At first, we assumed our little clown had found a new way to amuse himself and drive Sophie crazy, which it did, then we noticed the rash. Naturally, we put two and two together, the rash was caused by him dragging his body, then we noticed it in other places. We had two visits to the vet, the first of which to get him started on steroids to clear the rash, and the second visit to discuss other options as the steroids were getting rid of the rash but he was still tearing himself apart.
We were referred to the top animal dermatologist in Las Vegas, NV and quickly got Baxter in to see her. We wanted to get his allergy test done as soon as possible so we could find out what he was allergic to. In the meantime, we changed his food, soap, our laundry detergent and paused our house cleaning and pest control visits. On his initial visit, Baxter presented a deep ear infection as well as other severe symptom related to allergies. He was given medicine for his ear and rash and his allergy test appointment was made for thirty days out as he had to be off steroids for thirty days prior to the test. While waiting for the test, his rash and itching became much worse so the doctor prescribed medicine to help get us through the tough period until he could do the tests. They worked somewhat well. At this point, we’re about $500 in on the visits to the specialist. His allergy test runs in the $600-$900 range and the special serum they’ll be making for him is around $300, multiple times per year. The specialist submitted insurance claims for all visits and last Thursday we got a letter in the mail saying that he was DENIED.
I was dialing them within seconds of seeing the word denied and spoke with a specialist on the phone. The specialist explained to me that the ear infection Baxter had when he was a puppy can be attributed to allergies and that falls under the “pre-existing” condition category. On the call, I didn’t feel that I received the proper level or service due to someone who pays for the product and asked more than a few questions, most of which were shot down. I was told that I could appeal but that based on what they were seeing, it wouldn’t do much for our case. Again, I didn’t feel they were doing their due diligence and also, I didn’t feel they were taking me seriously on the phone. My only regret about the following instances after the phone call was not escalating things while on the phone with said service person. Instead, I went right to a public forum which isn’t necessarily fair to the company although any and all employees should reflect the type of customer service that they expect to portray.
I hung up and took to the Internet. Here we are, the largest Boston Terrier website on the planet that reaches over 250,000 people per month and I couldn’t get them to listen to me on the phone. I thought about all of the dogs we’ve posted about on this site, the missing dogs, the dogs in need of homes, the dogs in need of life-saving surgery, WE helped them together. If they won’t listen to me, I knew they’d listen to US.
We took to Twitter, Facebook and iBostonTerrier.com to make sure they heard about Baxter’s case. Did we create a scene? Yes. Are we proud of it? Absolutely not. Was Baxter’s claim overturned? Yes! I saw the tweets directed to them, I saw the Facebook posts on their page and I personally bashed them on our Facebook page which reached over 80,000 last week alone and now I feel badly about the situation. However, as a concerned pet parent, I felt it was my only option to get my boy his coverage.
So what happened? Clearly they didn’t just reverse his claim decision because us Boston Terrier folks know how to get our point across. This was a learning experience for us in the dog world and everyone at PetPlan Pet Insurance. Take away Baxter for a moment and look at this situation as a whole: we have a dog that is covered with insurance, meets all of the requirements to submit a claim and is denied because of a minor issue as a puppy. He is not just a policy number. He is not another statistic. Just because 9 of every 10 ear infections are commonly related to allergies does not mean that my boy is part of that 90%. Thanks to personal phone calls from my allergist and doctor, Baxter’s appeal was overturned as both explained that the ear infection and rash are not related.
I want to say that the management team at PetPlan has been great and caring with us while I was upset and worried about Baxter. If not for one call center person, this may have all been avoided even though my claim was initially denied. Unfortunately, much was miscommunicated from the company to me which led to this outburst and I hope for others sake in the future, they don’t go through this. I have watched our little guy claw his stomach and chest to pieces, shred the back of his ears and cheeks, strip his neck of hair and bite at his paws as we wait for all of this to get settled. At the moment I was told that appealing wouldn’t do much, I decided that I was not going to be taking no for an answer.
Thank you to the amazing iBostonTerrier readers that have supported us since day one and now supported us personally. Thank you to our vet and allergist for making the calls to help us make this right. Thank you to Chad, Lindsey and Keith at PetPlan that weathered the storm we launched at them to help our boy.
Baxter’s appointment is on Thursday, August 29th and we’ll be sure to keep everyone updated.