Banfield Pet Hospital - Employee Concerns and Wellness Plan Tricks!

Apr 24, 2008
review #118908

While reading some complaints about the wellness plans, I have decided that people are not being educated, and that is why there are SO MANY people pissed off. As a Banfield client AND employee (YES i pay full price), let me help break it down (and give you a few tips and tricks :) ).

1. No, the WELLNESS plans are not insurance. The purpose of these plans is to significantly reduce the risk of catching illnesses. You will incur costs for medications and other testing that is necessary to return your pet to Optimum Health.

2. Yes, they are for a year MINIMUM. As with every health plan, there is usually a fee for cancellation. However, in this case (though you may not believe it) Banfield employees are mandated to charge you the minimum cost necessary to cancel. You either have to pay for the services rendered and discounts (best option for pets passed away early, or early cancellations), or the months remaining on your wellness plan (better for mid-year cancellations).

3. Transferring your wellness plan is a pain for everyone, not just the client. This is mainly because Banfield had a plan (that seemingly was abandoned) to make your wellness plan good for all locations. Yes, the wellness plan needs to be transferred to a new location for a new year. Your records do not transfer automatically, though a receptionist has to fax whatever necessary records to the new location.

KEY TIPS: You need to follow up and make sure your OLD WP has been properly cancelled. Sometimes the employee with proper authorization to do so will not be there, and therefore not get the message. This would result in double withdrawal from your account, or collections calls in worse case scenario.

4. About renewal, you have the right to renew your wellness plan a month earlier than the anniversary date. The only reason I mention this is because sometimes your life is really hectic. Say you miss an appointment and need to pay for a booster vaccine, if it is passed a certain date from the initial immunization (3 weeks for initial, 1 year and 6 months after series was finished), Banfield's protocol is to restart the set. Eventually, you will have to pay out of pocket, and though it is discounted, of course you dont want to pay for it! I wouldn't! (Unless it's distemper, thats VERY important!)

Here's what you do:

Wait until about a month before your WP ends, get an appointment, listen to the ramble about how your WP will only cover one, smile and nod. Get the vaccine at no cost. Make a two to three week appointment. Ask the receptionist or Office manager to upgrade your wellness plan early.

When it comes time for the set to be re-administered (a year after), wait until the wellness plan is up for renewal again, because it will be within the alloted 6 month time before you need to restart the series!

What you just did:

1. Got your initial vaccine for free

2. Made sure the booster is from the new plan, got that for free too.

3. Started the WP items anew, promising some key tests and vaccines you may need a little earlier!

5. Regarding membership fees, they are first time only EXCEPT for one instance: you do not renew within three months.

However, you can have this fee waived if you were sent to collections (no need to tack insult to injury).

Also, sometimes the doctor or receptionist will waive this fee depending on the situation. Personnally, I find that out location is VERY forgiving regarding this matter. A CARING receptionist will always help you out. Being nice is always a good way to get discounts and free stuff!

(EVEN IF YOU DONT MEAN IT, smile and scream obscenities in your head)

6. Use ALL of the services off of your plan, if you can. Yes, sometimes your pet's health will prevent you from using some services (dental prophy being the most commonly discarded, a 350$ procedure!), but you can ask to use everything. This not only makes sure you got everything you paid for, but also nothing was overlooked that could be a key factor in your pets health.

7: Sign up on the PRIMARY plan first! There is no need to pay for services you aren't going to use, until you actually use them! If you need a dental, but can't get an appointment for two months, at the Basic Plus rate of 30.95 versus the Primary of 19.95 for two months, you just paid 22 dollars you could have used for something else!

This goes for puppy plans to. They dont need bloodwork until they get neutered, which is four to five months away, dont pay for a plan you wont use yet. Upgrade the day of your procedure, get all the services you need taken off and the rest discounted at a heavier rate.

THE ONLY CATCH: once you upgrade, you cannot downgrade until the wellness plan is up for renewal. Upgrade any time, can't downgrade until year is over.

Also, you need to carefully watch the date of the neuter/spay versus the age of your puppy. If your puppy gets to be EXACTLY 6 months before you upgrade, then you will miss out on the puppy plan.

Make sure you either call up to confirm the age once in a while, or schedule a few days before 6 months.

8. Yes, the staff at Banfield is VERY pushy about the wellness plans. I cannot speak for other Banfield hospitals, but there are a few reasons why we suggest them constantly.

From our standpoint:

1. It is easier to explain an invoice for 150, including bloodwork, vaccines, intestinal parasite exams, deworming, office visit, versus an invoice for 400+ for the same thing. You really do save money on PREVENTATIVE CARE.

2. Even if you only need one thing off the plan, (like a dental cleaning) it would be cheaper to sign up on the WP, use what you need and cancel, than to use a neighboring veterinarian where they may not consider that item necessary and charge you astronomical prices.

From your standpoint:

1. You have a regular veterinarian, who promises you free office visits, discounted items, and flexible hours. This eliminates the need to search for a vet, price search and possibly be dissapointed.

Now, I will HONESTLY answer a few concerns stated on this webpage, you can take or leave the answers below, and with all information, do your own research as well.

1. Yes, Banfield employees get a certain bonus from the number of wellness plans they sell. However, everyone gets a bonus from everything we provide, WP or not. Honestly, the bonus is nothing remarkable. For a whole year, and I sign about 6-7 wp's a day, I may have recieved 200 dollars all in all. That's not even enough to fill my vehicle with gas, lol.

2. Due to the sheer volume of clients per day vs the vets on staff, truthfully, people do not actually get their appointments on time unless it is a new hospital with a small client base. There is only one solution with this: hire more vets and expand the hospital. Personnally, I am very upset that I get paid chicken's feed to constantly hear client's concerns regarding their wait, and the other staff ignore them and me.

3. Frequently, mistakes are made in the computer. In defense to my fellow employees (who many of them have been in the field for YEARS), we have severely outdated program called PetWare. It is the bane of Banfield pet Hospitals everywhere. It cannot handle the number of clients, it is very restrictive in some parts, and very free in parts where it shouldn't be. It crashes frequently, and Windows doesn't even manufacture the program used to make PetWare (FOXPRO) since estimated 1995.

4. Once again, I cannot speak on the behalf of other vets (I believe the horror stories, trust me). The owner of my hospital also is the Head Vet. She is one of the sweetest people i have ever met, a little too sweet sometimes. One of the main reasons people put up with the corporate ***, long waiting times and small location, is because she may be one of the best vets in our area. She is very understanding, not pushy, and pets get better after she treats them.

However, she is only human. Alone she may see 35-40 patients a day (Banfield minimum per doctor). Of course at the end of the day she is frazzled and irritated, she may be a little less understanding. I believe before you judge the vet, take note of how many people they see a day. Are they the only Vet? How long and often do they work? Do they have their license posted in plain sight?

Personnally, I would have a COMPLETE over-hall on the entire banfield system (except for diagnostic protocols because I am not a DVM, and cannot discredit). I mean, how hard is it to link all the locations? Upgrade system, including hardware, reassess the standpoint of the customer, maybe have a plan that includes a set price in medications?

Maybe half price the vaccines if a set is overdue? Actually compete with prescription medication, instead of making set prices? Offer more frequent vaccine clinical hours for those non OWP customers, at a further discounted price?

All in all, the only thing that keeps me working is the pets. I love to see healthy pets and happy owners. I love to see invoices for 0.00 ( it's easier for all of us! ).

I appreciate an constructive criticism, good or bad.

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PugMomma24

Jan 25, 2012

I've had my 2 pugs on the wellness plus plan since 2005. I was a PetSmart employee at the time. I've used 3 different Banfields in that time and recently have gone back to the first Banfield I started with. I've had different experiences at each and no, not all good. As with your own family doctor, you need to feel comfortable with the people caring for your 4 legged family members. I changed to the 2nd Banfield because I was transferred to a new store and for drop off appointments it was comforting for me to be working in the same building my babies were in. However, a new Vet came in and he did not have a caring manner about him. I changed to a Banfield that was closer to my home for a while until that same Vet moved now to THIS location. Due to an emergency with one of my girls, and no appointment available at the close Banfield, I was able to get her in right away to my original location. I was so impressed with the care given by the Vet and the tech that I chose to drive a little farther to be comfortable. I love the plan. I have saved so much compared to the first year with a private practice Vet Clinic spending $45 just for walking in the door.

0 0 Reply
Robin

Dec 02, 2011

As a previous employee for this company I would not bring my pet there. Their vet assistants are untrained and are practicing medicine on your pets. I know this becuase I was hired with a background in sales, never in my life worked for a vet or any medical job. I am warning all pet owners beware! Vet techs are filling prescriptions with no one double checking to make sure they were filled properly, they are administering narcotics to your pets for surgery procedures, and they are the ones doing dentals w/out any real form of training on your pets. Now I am sure the company is not doing anything illegal, but if I were you make sure you ask what form of training your tech has or maybe go to a smaller office where you are dealing with educated vets. Oh, and by the way I do believe vet techs administering the narcotics to your pet is illegal as that is kept on the down low but I assure you I have seen it done, as well as vet tech's giving vaccines which only a licensed vet is suppose to do. All of this is done under the vetinarian himself. All I'm saying is owner beware, I have seen this with my own two eyes.

0 0 Reply
current employees

Oct 26, 2011

I currently work at a banfield and would like to vent alittle about some issues.
1. Wellness plans are not insurance!!!!
2. Read the contract before signing it. You are an adult and should realize that it is a legal document. it tells you that you are responsibile for the plan regardless if you pet passes away, is given away, or runs away- it shouldnt shock you that you can not cancel at anytime.
3. We are required to offer the plan as part of the job- employees do not get any bonus for getting you on one.
4. We are forced to offer items *heartworm and flea medication- although most of us do not use the same products.
5. we do not get any money off the treatment estimates or vaccine boosters which charge if YOU are not on time.
6. They are your pets and your responsiblity not OURS. so stay current on you pets health.
7. dont come in with a dying pet and expect not to pay, this is a business and although we are legally forced to stabalize an emergency it is still having to be paid for by someone *YOU
8. oh yeah dont come in at night and take your sweet time approving an estimate either say yes or no
9. dont be mean we try to help the people who are the nicest to the team, we will not care for you otherwise.
10. If you have an issue talk to the DR not the staff we have no control over their recommendations
11. Make sure you trust your tech, ask questions like how long they have been doing the job
... Show more

1 0 Reply
Pet Lover

Aug 01, 2013

What office are you at? I want to know, so that neither my pets or I are treated in such a manner! If you do not like pets, or, do not truely understand people, get another JOB! This is one of the reasons why, when my contract is up, I am moving my pets somewhere else. Please, stay away from pets. They have JAILS for people like you!

0 1 Reply
current employees

Oct 26, 2011

I currently work at a banfield and would like to vent alittle about some issues.
1. Wellness plans are not insurance!!!!
2. Read the contract before signing it. You are an adult and should realize that it is a legal document. it tells you that you are responsibile for the plan regardless if you pet passes away, is given away, or runs away- it shouldnt shock you that you can not cancel at anytime.
3. We are required to offer the plan as part of the job- employees do not get any bonus for getting you on one.
4. We are forced to offer items *heartworm and flea medication- although most of us do not use the same products.
5. we do not get any money off the treatment estimates or vaccine boosters which charge if YOU are not on time.
6. They are your pets and your responsiblity not OURS. so stay current on you pets health.
7. dont come in with a dying pet and expect not to pay, this is a business and although we are legally forced to stabalize an emergency it is still having to be paid for by someone *YOU
8. oh yeah dont come in at night and take your sweet time approving an estimate either say yes or no
9. dont be a *** or mean we try to help the people who are the nicest to the team, we will not care for you otherwise.
10. If you have an issue talk to the DR not the staff we have no control over their recommendations
11. Make sure you trust your tech, ask questions like how long they have been doing
... Show more

0 0 Reply
Nik

Aug 09, 2011

& they refuse to cancel my WP for my other dog...They want to continue to bill me & renew my plan each year, when I have stopped using them! SMH

0 0 Reply
Nik

Aug 09, 2011

My dog was sick one morning and I called Banfield and asked them if we could bring him in to get him checked out...We explained that there was blood and we weren't sure where it came from...We explained that our dog was lethargic and did not look well...We were told "well we don't have anything available for him today, bring him in tomorrow and we will see him then"...Well, he died later that night! He had recently been to them for his preventative care, etc...He was up to date on everything and the day before he seemed fine...We don't know if he could have been saved but we expressed the seriousness of what we saw in him but Banfield didn't seem to give a ***! Thanks Banfield!

0 1 Reply
Anonymous

Apr 21, 2013

If your dog was so sick, why didn't you take him to an Emergency Vet. Banfield did nothing wrong, you did. You should have hung up, gotten in your car and gotten him into an emergency vet. Dont blame others for your ignorance.

1 0 Reply
Anonymous

Sep 29

If it was an emergency, you should have gone to an emergency clinic.

1 0 Reply
Current Employee

Jul 28, 2011

I just started working for Banfield, but a couple things have changed since this original post.

-We no longer make a bonus on wellness plans. I have asked because I heard this used to happen and they did away with it.
-Plans, from what I understand, can now be transferred between hospitals. No renewing if you visit a different hospital.

I like my hospital. I have my little baby of a min pin on a wellness plan and would if I didn't work for the hospital anyway. While MOST did state vaccine prices are relatively cheap, what about fecal exams, heartworm tests, bloodwork, and quite a few other things that are included?


To the people complaining, you receive a BROCHURE when you sign up on a wellness plan. READ IT.
It STATES:
A Wellness Plan is NOT INSURANCE.
It AUTOMATICALLY RENEWS!

AND, on top of everything else, you get FREE office visits and calls.


Please keep in mind that even though it is a corporation, locations will be different. One may have a great staff, one may have a terrible staff. If you get a bad waitress at a restaurant, are you going to think the entire chain is bad? Probably not. Why should it be any different for this.

Oh, and to CONCERNED OWNER...
Your pet, who's on the plan, should only need work twice a year. Once every six months. And there should be a reminder when his appointment is due. They're calling for your
... Show more

1 0 Reply
Banfield Pet Hospital

Jul 28, 2011

@Everyone – We appreciate your feedback and discussion regarding our wellness plans. For those of you who have concerns, please contact our Wellness Plan Relations team at 866-894-7927 or WellnessPlanRelations@banfield.net so we can discuss your pet’s specific plan in further detail.

0 0 Reply
maruchy

Jul 28, 2011

do no take your pet to this hospital they will killed your pet.my dog went for checkup he came really sick I paid for insurance 40.95 every month. be careful.

0 1 Reply
concerned owner

Jul 18, 2011

I find it interesting that one of my pets is on the auto-renewal pet plan and the other's was a one year payment that has expired. Every month I get a call for my uninsured pet to come in for a check up and shots, but have not once got a reminder call for my insured pet. I can only surmise that they don't care to see my insured pet, because they are already getting money for him monthly. It is a bit disturbing.

0 0 Reply
PREVENTION PLAN

Jul 14, 2011

Really!!! you people want to come in and pay $24.99 a month $300.00 a year and have your pets spayed or neutered, all vaccines, unlimited office visits, a couple dewormings, fecal exams, hw testing, earswab, lab work. BE real wish there was a human clinic who offered this type of deal. By the way when u go to the clinic do they give you your medication or a precription after your exam?

1 0 Reply
Victoria

Jun 20, 2011

You people have obviously never been to any other animal hospital. The same *** happens at every hospital. In fact, most animal hospitals charge twice the amount Banfield does. Banfield just so happens to be the only corporate veterinary hospital so it has national reviews.
READ EVERYTHING BEFORE YOU SIGN. IT'S COMMON SENSE.

1 0 Reply

Jun 20, 2011

I am the proud owner of a fiesty Boston Terrier and a silly Pit Bull Mix. I pay every month for BOTH of them to be on the wellness plan from Banfield and I will continue for the rest of their lives!

My poor pit mix is prone to anything bad that can happen to a dog. She has had Parvo, every worm you can imagine (including heart worms), AND nearly cut her nose off playing in the yard! I have paid nearly $3,000 in vet bills since I first got her 4 years ago. Without the wellness plan that would be closer to $9,000. $70 a month for my two babies has saved me over $7,000 over the last 3 years. Not to mention my vet (Dr. G) was INCREDIBLE!! I was very sad when I found that he was no longer at my hospital and have been searching for him ever since. :( And both of my dogs get SO excited when we pull into the parking lot and they pretty much DRAG me straight to the Banfield office. They love everyone there!

I recommend Banfield AND their wellness plan to EVERYONE that I meet who has a pet!!!

1 0 Reply
most

Jun 04, 2011

Vaccines are cheap up front.
Most vets charge approx:

Rabies $10 - 20 (every 1-3 yrs)
Distemper/Parvo ($20)
Kennel Cough (10 - 20)

easily paid for with or WITHOUT a "plan"

0 1 Reply
Anonymous

Sep 29

HOWEVER, you also get free unlimited office visits with a plan. Most vets can't offer that. The plan also includes annual bloodwork, which can catch MANY health conditions early, like liver and kidney disease.

0 0 Reply
Upset

Jun 04, 2011

I was never told that my 1 yr membership would automatically renew unless I called to cancel/stop renewal. Billing statement didn't even mention what to do to cancel. I have spent about 2 hours this morning calling my local Banfield office & then a wrong number given by my local Banfield office & I still have been unable to cancel the renewal. I swear they make it complicated and make you jump through hoops to cancel just so you give up & keep the membership. Now I have to wait a couple of hours & try to call another number and hopefully cancel then. Not the way I wanted to spend my Saturday morning!!!

0 0 Reply
Anonymous

Sep 29

Should have read your contract!

0 0 Reply

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