What is the Greencross Healthy Pets Plus wellness program, and how is it different from pet insurance?
Pet insurance can be a valuable financial safety net, but ideally we would prefer that our furry friends did not become unhealthy in the first place. Offered by Greencross Vets, the Healthy Pets Plus program is not actually pet insurance but a membership-based preventative care initiative. It is designed to help you keep your pet in tip-top shape by encouraging regular check-ups (which are important for early detection of major health problems), educating you about maintaining your four-legged friend’s health and promoting veterinary products and services.
Once you’ve purchased membership, you are entitled to a wide range of benefits straight away. These include unlimited free consultations at Greencross Vets, Australia’s largest veterinary group. You also get discounts for pet food, veterinary treatment and animal-health products. Plus, all your core vaccinations are paid for, as well as annual health screening tests, unlimited nail trims and a range of other benefits.
- Before you buy: Greencross Healthy Pets Plus do NOT offer pet insurance. They offer a wellness program. This means that you probably won't be covered if your pet falls ill or gets in an accident.
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What does the Greencross membership program cover?
Healthy Pets Plus offers two types of membership programs: canine and feline. As of May 2017, both programs cost $440 per year for the first pet, with additional pets receiving a 10% discount for membership ($396). Most of the benefits are the same for both dogs and cats except where treatments or products specific to canines or felines are involved. For example, cat membership includes an annual feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) screening test.
The Greencross veterinary network is dedicated to providing gold-standard care for animal companions and offers many practical perks such as the convenience of scheduling vet appointments online. Once you’ve paid your membership, you’re entitled to a comprehensive list of animal health products and services at no extra charge. Here’s what’s included:
- Unlimited standard vet or vet-nurse consultations, including repeat visits for conditions that require more than one session of treatment
- All core vaccinations recommended by your Greencross vet
- Dental checks, plus $200 off a dental procedure (valid once per membership year)
- Unlimited visits to affiliated animal emergency centres if your pet requires urgent veterinary care after-hours
- Nutritional advice and help with weight management
- Unlimited nail clipping
- Urine analysis and parasite faecal testing
- FIV testing for cats, heartworm testing for dogs
- Wellness blood test or pre-anaesthetic blood test
Additionally, you receive a 20% discount on pet food and parasite-control products, including a heartworm injection for dogs. You’re also eligible for a 10% discount on all products and services from Greencross Vets, including any medications that are not supplied by a compounding pharmacy. (The term “compounding” refers to medications that are prepared from individual ingredients by the pharmacist, according to the vet’s instructions.)
The minimum commitment is 12 months and your membership continues in 12-month blocks. There are various payment options available, though, so you don’t have to fork out $440 in one lump sum.
How do I cancel my membership?
If you do decide to become a member but reach the conclusion that it's not the best program for you, you can cancel your membership during the three-month cooling-off period. You will only need to pay for the benefits you’ve actually used during that time and if you’ve fully paid for a whole year, the difference will be calculated for a refund.
What isn’t covered under the program?
Since the Healthy Pets Plus wellness plan is geared towards preventative care as opposed to pet insurance policies that only kick in after your pet becomes sick or injured, a number of exclusions apply.
- Vet restrictions. The main limitation is that treatment and services must be provided by a Greencross vet, or in the case of urgent after-hours care, you must visit an approved animal emergency centre.
- Discounts available at specific retailers. Similarly, the discounts for pet food and parasite-control products only apply to items purchased from Petbarn.
- Major consultations. Longer consultations (usually lasting longer than 20 minutes) for example, to treat dermatological or behavioural problems, are excluded.
- Sedation. If your pet requires sedation, this is not covered by membership.
- Annual screening only. The health screening tests are only valid once per membership year.
- Certain medications. Any medication purchased from compounding pharmacies is not included.
Why choose Healthy Pets Plus?
The aim of the Healthy Pets Plus wellness plan is to make it easy and cost-effective for you to keep your pets as healthy as possible. It’s all about preventative care, a lot like routine care pet cover that can be obtained as an optional extra on comprehensive pet insurance policies. The chief advantage of a program like Healthy Pets Plus is that you can obtain membership without having to purchase additional cover for your four-legged friend that you may never need.
If you live in an apartment and your kitty never ventures any further than the balcony, for example, you might decide that accident insurance is not worth the investment. Once you’ve paid your membership with Healthy Pets Plus, you don’t have to pay anything extra for all your standard consultations and essential vaccinations at a Greencross Vet. Plus you get a discount on pet food, worming medication and other care essentials.