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Law Changes Force AVMA To Drop Medical Insurance Plans

Pets will only be insured by GHLIT through 2013, then it won’t be insuring any other pets.

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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.

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.

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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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