Nationwide’s pet health insurance division has partnered with Purdue University researchers to track trends in pet insurance payouts. The researchers track a “basket” of the most commonly-utilized procedures to see how the typical veterinary visit has changed in price over time. According to their research, these ordinary expenses declined by 6 percent from January 2009 to December 2017 after adjusting for inflation.
This decrease is corroborated by less reliable sources, such as the American Pet Products Association (APPA) annual consumer spending surveys. For virtually every year tracked (accessible via web archive), cat and dog owners reported spending less money on average routine and surgical visits. The data is jumpier than the Nationwide and Purdue rigorous analysis of 30 million insurance claims but confirms an interesting – and counterintuitive – trend. In a system where consumers and patients’ “representatives” have enough skin in the game, healthcare prices behave like they would in most other markets.
That is from Ross Marchand, “Why cats pay a lower price for CAT scans.” Here is earlier work by Einav, Finkelstein, and Gupta about pet health care being about as inefficient as human health care. I don’t consider this a settled issue, but it is interesting to hear a revision on what had been the most common take.