ALLEN (CBSDFW.COM) – A North Texas pet owner discovered she was obligated to pay for a health wellness plan even after her dog died.
In the Yagadich home, dogs are more than pets. They are family.
But when Mimi, a 16-year-old Chihuahua, suffered a seizure last summer, Dawn Yagadich said she knew what she needed to do. She agreed to euthanize Mimi in August.
“Oh, it was terrible,” Yagadich said. “It was awful. I held her and told her not to be afraid.”
Yagadich’s pain quickly turned to shock. Even though Mimi died in August, she was outlived by her own health plan.
“I think it should have been disclosed at the time of the agreement, which it was not,” Yagadich said.
Last May, Yagadich enrolled Mimi in an “Optimum Wellness Plan” through Banfield Pet Hospital. Mimi was a patient at the location in Allen.
The plan provides “preventative” pet care that the company claims “provides more for your pet than standard pet insurance.”
Yagadich said the package seemed like a deal, especially since Mimi had just endured costly cancer treatments.
But when Yagadich called to cancel the policy, she said she was told she still owed monthly payments of $52.95 until May 2020.
“We would not have signed the plan, especially for Mimi,” said Yagadich, who also signed up her two other dogs for optimum wellness plans.
Yagadich admits she did not read the contract.
The paperwork states, “If the member cancels for any reason including but not limited to death….provider shall be entited to retain the entire membership fee.”
Still, Yagadich said she believes a Banfield representative should have warned her at the time of signing, considering Mimi’s age and medical history.
“It’s just another reminder of what happened when we have to make that payment,” Yagadich said.
Hours after the Ones for Justice contacted Banfield, the Oregon-based company agreed to cancel the remainder of the contract.
A spokesperson issued the following statement –
“Our hearts go out to Ms. Yagadich over the loss of Mimi. As pet owners and lovers ourselves, we know how incredibly difficult it is to lose a pet, and our goal is to always ensure owners feel supported during this very difficult process. As with all of our clients and Optimum Wellness Plan members, if there are any concerns we work directly with the family to understand the situation and answer any questions they may have. We’re glad that we were able to work directly with Ms. Yagadich to find a mutually agreeable solution to her concerns, and we remain committed to supporting and partnering with her through this difficult time.”
On its website, Banfield makes it clear that the Optimum Wellness Plan is not an insurance policy.
If a member cancels the contract, the member must pay either the retail cost of the services already rendered or the remainder of the contract.
Before signing any health plan for your pet, read the contract. Check for a “death clause” that would obligate you to keep making payments even after your pet dies.