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Pet insurance

Proposed bill aims to reform pet insurance industry

Sunday, July 25, 2010 by: Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
Tags: pet insurance, reform, health news

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(NaturalNews) California state Assemblyman Dave Jones, a Democrat, has proposed a bill that, if passed, will reform the way pet insurance companies operate. Most pet insurance companies do not explain policy details to policyholders because the industry is largely under-regulated. But the terms of the new bill require pet insurance companies to disclose to policyholders all policy information on their websites.

Like human health care, pet health care costs have steadily increased over the years as scientists have developed expensive new treatments to treat serious illnesses. As a result, pet owners have had to fork over increasing amounts of cash to provide health care for their pets, driving many to pursue the insurance option.

But after purchasing policies, many policyholders have come to realize that certain procedures are not covered, that companies often increase rates based on the amount of claims filed in previous policy periods, and even that the "reasonable and customary costs" covered by insurance are far lower than the actual costs of procedures.

Consider the case of Gary Lucks, who got stuck paying over $3,000 for his dog's cancer treatments after finding out that his dog's insurance did not cover the 85 percent of treatment costs that he expected.

"It was just an outrage," Lucks explained to reporters. "There needs to be full disclosure, so the unwary consumer is aware of what they're paying and what they're getting."

There are also reports that people who purchase policies have no idea that their pets may be exempted from coverage due to pre-existing conditions.

"A number of pet owners have complained to me that they bought a policy, and they weren't told about pre-existing conditions," explained Jones in an MSNBC article.

Part of Jones' bill will also require that pet insurance be added as a separate line in the state's insurance code.

Sources for this story include:


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