Healthy Paws vs Nationwide

Healthy Paws and Nationwide are both well-known names in the pet insurance industry, each boasting unique features that make them stand out from the crowd. However, it’s the intricate details that differentiate them and may sway your decision on the most suitable option for your pet.

Healthy Paws

Founded in 2009, Healthy Paws is a dedicated pet insurance provider with a reputation for straightforward coverage and prompt claim processing. They are known for their comprehensive, single-plan offering that covers almost all accidents and illnesses, with the exception of pre-existing conditions.


As the first company to introduce pet insurance in the United States, Nationwide has been a major player in the industry for many years. Offering a wider variety of plans, Nationwide caters to pet parents seeking both basic and extensive coverage, including wellness care and hereditary conditions.

Coverage Comparison: Healthy Paws vs Nationwide

Accident and Illness

Both Healthy Paws and Nationwide offer comprehensive accident and illness coverage. However, Healthy Paws offers a simple, single-plan approach that covers virtually all accidents and illnesses, excluding pre-existing conditions and routine care. On the other hand, Nationwide’s Whole Pet with Wellness plan covers a wide range of services, from accidents and illnesses to wellness care and even prescription diets.

Hereditary and Congenital Conditions

Healthy Paws covers hereditary and congenital conditions, as long as they are not pre-existing at the time of enrollment. Nationwide, under its Whole Pet with Wellness plan, offers similar coverage. However, their Major Medical plan only covers hereditary and congenital conditions if you also purchase the optional Hereditary Plus rider.

Wellness and Preventive Care

Nationwide stands out in this category, offering wellness and preventive care coverage under its Whole Pet with Wellness plan. This includes routine procedures, vaccinations, and annual wellness exams. Conversely, Healthy Paws’ straightforward plan does not cover preventive care, focusing instead solely on accident and illness coverage.

Customer Service and Claim Process

Both providers have received positive feedback for their customer service. Healthy Paws, in particular, is often praised for its speedy claim process, with most claims processed within ten days. Nationwide also has an efficient claims process, typically processed within 14 days, and offers additional support through VetHelpline – a 24/7 veterinary consultation service.

Pricing and Discounts

Healthy Paws’ pricing depends on your pet’s breed, age, and location, with no option to customize your reimbursement or deductible to lower the premium. Conversely, Nationwide’s pricing varies depending on the plan chosen and allows for customization of certain aspects, potentially providing a more affordable option for budget-conscious pet parents. Both providers offer multi-pet discounts.

Delving Deeper into Plan Details: Healthy Paws vs Nationwide

Coverage Limitations and Exclusions

A critical component of pet insurance policies involves the limitations and exclusions that impact the extent of your coverage.

Healthy Paws’ straightforward model offers unlimited lifetime benefits with no caps on claims, ensuring long-term protection for your pet’s health. However, it does exclude pre-existing conditions, routine care, and preventative treatments. Be aware that a 15-day waiting period applies to accidents and illnesses, while hip dysplasia has a 12-month waiting period for dogs.

Nationwide’s coverage varies according to the plan selected. Their Whole Pet with Wellness plan is comprehensive, covering accidents, illnesses, wellness, and preventative treatments. The Major Medical plan, however, excludes wellness and preventative care unless you opt for additional coverage. Pre-existing conditions are also excluded in both plans. Nationwide’s waiting periods are similar to Healthy Paws, with 14 days for illnesses and 24 hours for accidents.

Alternative Therapies and Advanced Treatments

Both Healthy Paws and Nationwide embrace the benefits of alternative therapies and advanced treatments, but their coverage varies.

Healthy Paws includes alternative treatments such as hydrotherapy, physiotherapy, chiropractic care, and acupuncture as part of their standard coverage, provided these treatments are for covered conditions and performed by a licensed veterinarian.

Nationwide offers a more comprehensive approach, covering alternative treatments under both the Whole Pet with Wellness and Major Medical plans. Additionally, advanced treatments like chemotherapy and radiation, surgery, hospitalization, prescription medications, and stem cell therapy are also covered.

Policy Customization

Policy customization offers pet parents flexibility in shaping their coverage to suit their budget and needs.

With Healthy Paws, customization is limited. They offer only one comprehensive plan, and while you can select your deductible and reimbursement level at enrollment, changes are not allowed after the policy is in effect.

Nationwide, in contrast, offers more flexibility. Depending on your chosen plan, you can adjust your deductible, reimbursement level, and annual limit. This customization allows for potential cost savings and ensures you only pay for the coverage you need.

Claims and Customer Experience

Both companies utilize technology to enhance their claims process and customer experience. Healthy Paws provides a user-friendly mobile app where policyholders can submit claims, access policy details, and make payments. Nationwide also offers an online portal and mobile app where customers can file claims, view policy details, and access their VetHelpline.

The claim reimbursement process is straightforward for both insurers. Healthy Paws requires the submission of your vet’s invoice and the relevant medical records, while Nationwide also allows claims to be filed via email, fax, or traditional mail, in addition to their digital options.

In terms of customer satisfaction, both companies have received positive feedback overall. Healthy Paws is often lauded for its quick and hassle-free claim reimbursement process, while Nationwide is praised for its comprehensive coverage options and helpful customer service.

Exam Fees and Prescription Medications

Exam fees can often add a significant amount to your vet bills. Healthy Paws excludes exam fees from its coverage, meaning policyholders have to pay these costs out-of-pocket. Nationwide, however, covers exam fees under its Whole Pet with Wellness plan, offering a substantial advantage for pet parents.

When it comes to prescription medications, both companies offer extensive coverage. Healthy Paws covers prescriptions for treating covered conditions, while Nationwide includes prescription drug coverage in all its plans.

Healthy Paws vs Nationwide: The Verdict

In the end, the choice between Healthy Paws and Nationwide comes down to your specific needs and those of your pet. If you prefer a straightforward, comprehensive accident and illness plan without the added extras, Healthy Paws could be your best bet. If you want a more comprehensive package that includes wellness and preventive care, and you don’t mind paying a little extra, Nationwide’s Whole Pet with Wellness plan might be a more suitable choice.

Frequently Asked Questions: Healthy Paws vs. Nationwide

How Long Does It Take to Get Reimbursed?

With Healthy Paws, the majority of claims are processed within ten days. They strive to get reimbursement checks out promptly, so you can focus on your pet’s health rather than worrying about the financial burden.

Nationwide offers a similarly speedy process, with most claims being processed within 14 days. It’s important to note that the speed of reimbursement can depend on the complexity of the claim and whether all necessary documentation has been provided.

Are Congenital and Hereditary Conditions Covered?

Healthy Paws covers congenital and hereditary conditions as long as they have not been identified or suspected before the policy was issued. This is an excellent benefit for pet owners who have breeds that are known to have hereditary health issues.

Nationwide also covers congenital and hereditary conditions under its Whole Pet with Wellness plan, as long as they are not pre-existing. This comprehensive coverage includes conditions that many other insurance companies don’t cover.

Is there a Multi-pet Discount?

Healthy Paws does not offer a multi-pet discount. Each pet you enroll is considered as having a separate policy.

Nationwide, however, offers a multi-pet discount, making it a more cost-effective option for families with multiple pets.

How are Reimbursements Calculated?

Both Healthy Paws and Nationwide calculate reimbursements based on the actual veterinary bill. However, the reimbursement percentage you receive depends on the terms of your specific policy.

For Healthy Paws, you can choose a reimbursement level of 70%, 80%, or 90% at the time of enrollment. Nationwide’s Whole Pet with Wellness plan reimburses 90% of the vet bill. Its Major Medical plan uses a benefits schedule to calculate reimbursements, which means the payout may not necessarily align with the actual cost of treatment.

Do They Cover Specialist Care and Emergency Visits?

Yes, both Healthy Paws and Nationwide cover specialist care and emergency visits for covered conditions.

Healthy Paws emphasizes that any treatment deemed necessary by a licensed vet, including specialist and emergency care, is eligible for coverage.

Nationwide’s Whole Pet with Wellness plan also includes this coverage. Its Major Medical plan, however, follows a benefits schedule, which may limit the amount reimbursed for these services.

Are Preventive Care and Wellness Checks Covered?

Healthy Paws focuses solely on unexpected costs associated with accidents and illnesses, so preventive care and wellness checks are not covered.

On the other hand, Nationwide’s Whole Pet with Wellness plan offers extensive coverage that includes wellness checks, vaccinations, flea and heartworm preventives, and even dental cleanings. It’s a comprehensive solution for pet owners who want an all-encompassing coverage. However, these are not covered under the Major Medical plan unless you opt for an additional wellness plan.

How Does Each Company Handle Pre-existing Conditions?

Healthy Paws and Nationwide have similar approaches to pre-existing conditions – they are not covered. Both companies define pre-existing conditions as those occurring or showing symptoms before coverage begins or during the waiting period.

Healthy Paws makes it clear that a condition will no longer be considered pre-existing if your pet has been cured and free from treatment and symptoms for a period of 12 months.

Nationwide also does not cover pre-existing conditions but may cover certain conditions if your pet remains symptom-free for six months under the Major Medical plan.

Is there a Waiting Period?

Yes, both companies impose waiting periods. For Healthy Paws, there’s a 15-day waiting period for illnesses and accidents. Hip dysplasia, however, has a 12-month waiting period for dogs aged six and above when enrolled.

Nationwide has a 14-day waiting period for illnesses, a two-day waiting period for accidents, and a 12-month waiting period for cruciate ligament events and related conditions.

Are Chronic Conditions Covered?

Yes, both Healthy Paws and Nationwide cover chronic conditions. For Healthy Paws, any chronic condition that has not shown symptoms or been treated before the policy begins is covered for the life of your pet as long as the policy is continually maintained.

Similarly, Nationwide covers chronic conditions under its Whole Pet with Wellness and Major Medical plans. Like Healthy Paws, the condition must not be pre-existing to qualify.

Do the Companies Offer Direct Payment to Veterinarians?

Healthy Paws currently does not offer direct payment to veterinarians. The pet owner must pay the vet directly and then submit a claim to Healthy Paws for reimbursement.

In contrast, Nationwide allows for direct payment to veterinarians if the vet agrees to this arrangement. This can be particularly helpful for pet owners faced with large, unexpected bills.

Are Prescription Foods and Supplements Covered?

Healthy Paws does not cover prescription food, even if prescribed by a veterinarian. It only covers supplements if they are part of treatment for a covered accident or illness.

Nationwide, under its Whole Pet with Wellness plan, provides coverage for therapeutic diets and supplements prescribed by a veterinarian to treat a covered condition. However, it does not cover preventive or maintenance diets. It’s a major differentiator from Healthy Paws and a significant benefit for pet owners whose pets require prescription diets.

Do they Increase Premiums as the Pet Ages?

Healthy Paws states that your pet’s age at enrollment is one of the factors that influence your premium, and it might increase as your pet ages. However, they assure that your pet’s insurance policy will not be canceled due to age or the number of claims filed.

Nationwide also considers your pet’s age at enrollment when determining premiums. However, like Healthy Paws, they also note that insurance rates naturally increase over time due to economic factors.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to Top