By Kurtis Ming

LINCOLN (CBS13) — A lot of people think wellness plans are pet insurance, but there is a difference. Depending on what you have, you may have to keep paying even after your pet dies.

Diana Mallory’s feline companion Holly lived a happy 21 years.

“She had a wonderful life, she was a good girl,” she said.

But Diana noticed in the last six months Holly had difficulty walking stopped eating and had several health issues.

Diana couldn’t see Holly suffer and made the painful decision to have her put to sleep.

“I held her while they gave her the injection, just like she went to sleep, she died in my arms,” she said.

A few weeks after Holly’s passing, Diana says she called Banfield Pet Hospital to cancel Holly’s wellness plan, but she couldn’t believe it when they told her she had to keep paying each month until the policy’s renewal time.

“Holly’s not even here; Holly is dead,” Diana told them over the phone.

But Katie Glenn, who has run vet offices for years, points out wellness plans are not the same as pet insurance.

“Pet insurance will pay towards any veterinarian,” said Katie.

She says you can normally cancel a pet insurance policy when your pet dies, but wellness plans are only good at select locations. And in this case with Banfield the premiums may be spread out over 12 months. That means paying even after a pet dies.

Diana said, “I was never advised of this,” when she signed up for the policy.

We reached out to Banfield, the told us, “All clients sign a Wellness Plan agreement when they sign-up which includes these details. Adding, “We were able to come to a resolution with the client.”

After we got involved, Diana says Banfield is no longer charging her, for Holly’s wellness plan, saving her $200.

Diana now has a kitten and plans to buy pet insurance.

“I would never go to them again, I’m done,” she said.

We have looked into the pros and cons of pet insurance and wellness plans. Usually, pet insurance does not cover preventive care and wellness plans will not cover; accidents, illness, or surgeries

Banfield Pet Hospital Full Statement

“At Banfield Pet Hospital, we were very sad to hear of the passing of Holly the cat. Our Optimum Wellness Plan is a package of preventive healthcare services which spreads the cost of services out over 12 months. As a result, there may be situations where services have already been performed but have not yet been fully paid for. Clients are not asked to pay for services that have not been administered prior to the pet passing. We were able to come to a resolution with the client, and are open to continued conversations with the family during this difficult time.”

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