Veterinary Prices Decrease in Spite of Consumer Inflation

Groundbreaking Study Counters U.S. Government Figures on Veterinary Inflation

Brea, Calif. (March 24, 2015) - America’s passion for pets has pushed the value of pet-related products and services up steadily year-over-year. However, according to the Nationwide® | Purdue Veterinary Price Index, the cost of taking a pet to the veterinarian has actually decreased over the past five years. This groundbreaking study refutes the U.S. government’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) which holds veterinary inflation at 15 percent, nearly double the average inflation rate for all consumer sectors.

The Nationwide | Purdue Veterinary Price Index, produced by Nationwide in partnership with the Krannert School of Management at Purdue University, drew upon actual data from more than 5.3 million pet health insurance claims and 17 million treatments from the nation’s largest pet insurer, Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI), a Nationwide company. In contrast, the federal government’s CPI was based on self-reported pricing in hundreds of veterinary hospital interviews during the same time period (2009-2013).

“The difference between the Nationwide | Purdue Veterinary Price Index and the government's Consumer Price Index findings is that our singular focus was to analyze veterinary pricing trends based on more than 5.3 million actual medical claims rather than a few hundred phone surveys, providing us a much clearer look at these trends,” said Scott Liles, president of VPI. “We will analyze these figures quarterly and continue to dive deeper to determine what the data can provide to the industry.”

The most significant finding is that prices of veterinary services (medical and preventive care) were not rising more quickly or sharply than consumer prices overall, despite the reports issued by the U.S. government. In fact, the Nationwide | Purdue Veterinary Price Index revealed that veterinary prices were rising at a slower rate than consumer prices overall and actually showed a one percent decrease over the study period.

“The Nationwide | Purdue Veterinary Price Index is based on millions of transactions, building a more accurate picture of veterinary services and pricing from a granular perspective,” said Kevin J. Mumford, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Economics at Purdue and one of the lead authors of the study. “The study uses the depth and breadth of Nationwide’s database to develop an index that more accurately depicts veterinary service pricing. The index reflects the larger trend toward preventive and wellness care, properly weighted.” 

An executive summary of the Nationwide | Purdue Veterinary Price Index is available at NationwideVetChannel.com. Quarterly releases of the study will track national trends in pricing, and drill down the data from millions of pet health insurance claims to examine additional trends in veterinary pricing.

About Veterinary Pet Insurance

With more than 525,000 pets insured nationwide, Veterinary Pet Insurance Co./DVM Insurance Agency (VPI), a Nationwide company, is the first and largest pet health insurance provider in the United States. Since 1982, VPI has helped provide pet owners with peace of mind and is committed to being the trusted choice of America’s pet lovers.

VPI plans cover dogs, cats, birds and exotic pets for multiple medical problems and conditions relating to accidents, illnesses and injuries. Wellness coverage for routine care is available for an additional premium. Medical plans are available in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Additionally, one in three Fortune 500 companies offers VPI Pet Insurance as an employee benefit.

Insurance plans are offered and administered by Veterinary Pet Insurance Company in California and DVM Insurance Agency in all other states. Underwritten by Veterinary Pet Insurance Company (CA), Brea, CA, an A.M. Best A rated company (2013); National Casualty Company (all other states), Madison, WI, an A.M. Best A+ rated company (2014). Veterinary Pet Insurance, VPI and the cat/dog logo are service marks of Veterinary Pet Insurance Company. Nationwide, the Nationwide N and Eagle, and Nationwide Is On Your Side are service marks of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company. ©2015 Veterinary Pet Insurance Company and Nationwide. Pet owners can find VPI Pet Insurance on Facebook or follow @VPI on Twitter. For more information about VPI Pet Insurance, call 800-USA-PETS (800-872-7387) or visit petinsurance.com.


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