August 25, 2010
California Should Provide Assurance to those Buying Pet Insurance
The HSUS urges the Governor to sign AB 2411 to protect consumers, pets
SACRAMENTO — The Humane Society of the United States applauds the California legislature for passing Assembly Bill 2411, a measure to require companies selling pet health insurance in California to provide basic disclosures about any exclusions, coverage limits, and benefit schedules to consumers. The Senate approved the bill earlier this week by a vote of 27 to 9 and the Assembly concurred by a vote of 42 to 22. Authored by Assemblyman Dave Jones, D-Sacramento, and managed on the Senate floor by Sen. Mark Wyland, R-Carlsbad, the bill now heads to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's desk.
"Advances in veterinary medicine are providing more and better options for treating diseases and other medical conditions, and are limited in their ability to extend our pets' quantity and quality of life only by the ability of pet owners to pay for treatment," said Jennifer Fearing, The HSUS' California senior state director. "Pet insurance plays a vital role in bridging any gaps between the desire for treatment and the financial means to pay for it."
If the Governor enacts AB 2411, California will get out in front of the burgeoning market for pet insurance, which is already growing by some estimates by as much as 45 percent per year. Pet owners who seek insurance as a way to help mitigate the cost of veterinary care deserve adequate disclosure when making their purchasing decisions—not only so they can evaluate competing plans and prices but also so they are not caught flat-footed when they receive less coverage than they may be anticipating due to confusion about how the insurance product works. The last thing anyone involved in a veterinary medical emergency needs is to get embroiled in a protracted battle over who owes whom what.
"It's terrible to realize that the pet insurance premiums you have paid for years do not cover the full cost of veterinary care," said Assemblymember Jones. "This bill provides transparency so that consumers can be fully informed of the exact terms of coverage, as well as any exclusions or limitations."
- According to the 2009-2010 National Pet Owners Survey conducted by the American Pet Products Association, 62 percent of U.S. households own at least one pet, up from 56 percent in 1998
- In 2010, APPA estimates that nearly $13 billion will be spent on veterinary care and another $11 billion on non-food supplies and medicines for pets. Americans spend more on their pets than they do on movies, recorded music, and video games combined.
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The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the Web at humanesociety.org.