AVMA GHLIT chairman James
H. Brandt, DVM.
Libby Wallace, CEO of the
Tampa, Fla.-based trust, responded to questions about
what AVMA members can
expect because of changes
wrought by Obamacare.
How many AVMA members
are affected by the discontinu-
ation of the medical plan?
AVMA members have at least
one type of GHLIT insurance
coverage. Currently, there are
approximately 15,000 medical
Why does New York Life’s de-
cision to no longer back the
AVMA group medical plan
mean for members?
“Bona fide association med-
Were other insurers asked to
ical plans like the GHLIT will
be regulated by the individual
medical insurance market rath-
er than the group insurance
market. This means that if GH-
LIT were to continue conduct-
ing business as we have in the
past, we would have to make
our medical plans available to
all comers, meaning we could
not limit our policies to only
Based on this, New York Life
made the business decision that
they would not continue to offer
association medical plans.”
underwrite the group medical
“GHLIT was unsuccessful
in finding another underwriter
who was willing or able to accept our group. New York Life
will continue to be the underwriter for nonmedical insurance
products like disability income
and life insurance.”
When will AVMA GHLIT med-
ical insurance expire?
“Jan. 1, 2014. GHLIT participants may select a medical plan
from among several insurance
carriers. The medical plans,
carriers and premiums will vary
Are other GHLIT benefits af-
“We will continue to offer
Where should veterinarians
nonmedical products, such as
disability and life insurance,
to our members through their
GHLIT insurance agent or the
AVMA GHLIT Insurance Ex-
change/Marketplace. The only
GHLIT products affected by
the Affordable Care Act are the
GHLIT medical plans.”
go for medical coverage once
their AVMA GHLIT medical
“In March, GHLIT launched
the website AVMAGHLITcare.
org to assist members in finding medical insurance for 2014
How can veterinarians be
sure they’re making the best
“Through the AVMA GHLIT Insurance Exchange/Marketplace, members can view
plan options online, have a live
online chat with an insurance
representative or speak directly with an adviser, in addition
to working with the GHLIT insurance agent they may have
worked with in the past.”
Will the website be updated
with new information about
the Affordable Care Act?
“We have added resources to
What are some stopgap mea-
our website to help keep mem-
bers informed on how they may
be affected by the Affordable
Care Act. For example, we’ve
added health care reform up-
dates, videos and a map that
links members to their state’s
sures GHLIT has put in place
to ease the transition?
“In March, we introduced options for veterinarians who are
Medicare eligible or soon-to-be
Medicare eligible. In July, we introduced medical plans for those
veterinarians who are under
age 65 and needed a medical
plan for the remainder of 2013.
Additionally, we integrated the
ability to get quotes for our other GHLIT lines of coverage like
disability and life insurance.”
Will the quality of medical
coverage be less, the same or
better than it was?
“Starting in 2014, the rates,
product offerings and carriers
will vary based on geographical
location, participant age and
whether you are a tobacco user.
The same carrier may offer one
What have members said
rate in one state and a differ-
ent rate in another, although
pre-existing medical conditions
cannot be a condition of insur-
ance nor can insurance carriers
use that information to adjust
your premium or decline cov-
erage. AVMA GHLIT has com-
mitted to only including highly
rated insurance carriers on the
GHLIT Care Insurance Market-
place to assure our members
that they are working with a
about losing AVMA GHLIT
“Most of our members are disappointed that the medical plans
will end at the end of the year.
We understand that this change
may be difficult, and that’s why
we have committed to assisting
veterinarians as they navigate
through the changes.”
How will the relationship be-
tween member veterinarians
and AVMA GHLIT change?
“GHLIT will continue to be
a valued benefit among AVMA
members. The medical plan is
the only product affected by the
Affordable Care Act. And while
this is an enormous change for
those who have had GHLIT
medical coverage in the past,
we serve more veterinarians
through our nonmedical products than we do with medical
coverage, and we will look to
add additional products in the
coming months.” l
downloadable client letters
and video demonstrations are
among the features of a new
website designed for veterinary customers of Novartis
Animal Health US Inc.
The website, BeyondThe-Medicine.com, also offers business management tools and
articles, literature on the latest
advances in pharmaceutical research and technical resources.
“The goal of Beyond the
Medicine is to create trusting
partnerships with our custom-
ers to help them succeed in
business,” said Laurie Suson,
marketing vendor manager for Novartis Ani-
mal Health US of Greensboro, N.C. “It is a pro-
gram that shows we care about more than just
selling products, and is our way of showing
our commitment to veterinary professionals.”
The website is divided into three sections:
Growing Your Business, Understanding the
Science and Building Partnerships.
The business portion contains everything
from customizable letters that may be sent to
clients on behalf of Novartis products such as
Parastar Plus flea and tick control to an itch
rating scale that dog owners may use to track
their pets’ itching.
The science page features numerous videos
and downloads, including the latest inserts for
Novartis products. One CE credit is available
for completing “Communicating with CATti-tude,” which discusses ways to optimize the
feline veterinary visit. Available for download
is a peer-reviewed dental study that looks
at the efficacy of Deramaxx (deracoxib) as a
post-dental procedure pain protocol.
The partnership section has links to sponsors such as the American College of Veterinary Dermatology, the North American Veterinary Community and the Companion Animal
Laura Strong, DVM, of Eastside Animal Hospital in Jeffersonville, Ind., performs
an ovariohysterectomy in a video on Novartis’ Beyond the Medicine website.
Vet practices take part
in 24-hour obesity study
Veterinary clinics across the United States participated Oct.
9 in a study of pet obesity.
For one day only, on National Pet Obesity Awareness Day,
veterinary practices were asked to record the basic body
conditioning scores of all canine and feline patients. The information was to be returned to the Association for Pet Obesity
Prevention (APOP) in Calabash, N.C.
Ernie Ward, DVM, APOP the organization’s founder and
president, said the seventh annual study is vital to measuring
the obesit trend.
“Armed with this knowledge, APOP, the veterinary community and entire pet industry can set forth common strategies to
fight and prevent overweight pets,” he said.
The study found a record number of overweight cats in
2012. In addition, 52.5 percent of dogs and 58.3 percent of cats
checked were determined to be overweight or obese.
Novartis opens veterinary resource center
New canine thyroid test unveiled
Hemolife, the diagnostic division of the Hemopet animal
blood bank, has patented a process that the Garden Grove,
Calif., company says more accurately diagnoses thyroid dysfunction and related diseases
The T4:FT4 Ratio determines
“the ratio between the level of
total T4 and its free, unbound
fraction,” said company founder
W. Jean Dodds, DVM.
“This diagnostic tool provides
enhanced specificity for canine
thyroid disorders,” Hemolife
Dodds called the process
an “important clinical breakthrough.” She expects the findings to be published in a peer-reviewed journal in 2014.