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Law Changes Force AVMA to Drop Medical Insurance Plans

Dec. 19, 2012, 4:32 p.m. EST

The American Veterinary Medical Association’s Group Health and Life Insurance Trust will no longer provide medical insurance to its members after 2013, the trust announced Tuesday.

The approximately 17,500 AVMA-member veterinarians who carry the medical coverage through GHLIT will have to seek medical individual plans effective Jan. 1, 2014.

vet checking cat's heart

Members will receive normal coverage through 2013, and the trust will continue to carry life, disability and dental insurance products. But at the conclusion of 2013, the trust will no longer be able to provide medical insurance for its members.

“Our hope over the next year is to act as a resource to help current policyholders transition to plans that are suitable to their families,” said GHLIT spokesperson Libby Wallace.

The trust’s underwriter, New York Life Insurance Co., notified GHLIT that it would discontinue providing insurance to all group plans and to all members, likely because of changes under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which goes into effect Jan. 1, 2014, said Wallace.

"Regarding New York Life's coverage of AVMA members, the company will continue to offer and underwrite the Life and Disability Income programs of AVMA," the company said in an email. "By 2014 New York Life will be exiting only the Major Medical Market for strategic business reasons. The company will be concentrating on its industry leading positions in life insurance, annuities and long term care insurance."

Despite lobbying efforts on behalf of GHLIT, the trust will no longer be treated as a “group” arrangement, which means that advantages of the current nationwide coverage and premium ratings will not be available, the trust said in a statement.

“Once New York Life realized they couldn’t underwrite us any longer, we have looked for other insurance carriers, but we haven’t found any who would take us as a group because the laws have changed to preclude everyone from doing that,” Wallace said.

The GHLIT has provided insurance coverage exclusively to AVMA members for 56 years. It is overseen by a nine AVMA-member veterinarians and one AVMA liaison.

Editor's note: This story was updated on Jan 19, 2012, at 5:46 p.m. EST to include a statement from New York Life Insurance Co.


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Law Changes Force AVMA to Drop Medical Insurance Plans

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Reader Comments
I know I am way late to respond here. But, as an insurance agent who works with the GHLIT, I can tell you they were/are forced to close their medical program down. Their are many legal conflicts with the new law. The most damaging is the new law states "you cannot discriminate who you offer isurance to". As we know, the GHLIT only insures veterinarians and their depedents only. Under the new law, they would have to open up the program to ANYONE who wants to apply, meaning the general public. Of course they are not going to do that, so they had to close it down. Wake up folks, don't believe everything you hear in the news. Miliions of people are lossing their existing coverage under this law!
jim, tampa, FL
Posted: 7/15/2013 3:24:20 PM
There are/were??(before Obamacare) much less expensive medical insurance plans other than the AVMA's. It has been overpriced for years. Consider BC/BS.
Ron, Jones, OK
Posted: 12/26/2012 11:06:23 AM
What a shame!!! So sad to see this benefit of being an AVMA member go!
Katrina, San Diego, CA
Posted: 12/21/2012 8:45:11 PM
As a senior vet student with a serious health condition this is very worrying to me. Depending on what state you live in this plan may not have been such a good deal for some people, but in some places it is by far the best option. Can anyone explain how the affordable care act prevents insurance companies from underwriting group plans? This doesn't seem like we are getting the full picture and I personally would like more specific information from the AVMA on the details.
Zach, Fort Collins, CO
Posted: 12/21/2012 12:36:27 PM
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