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Honored Contributor
Posts: 14,362
Registered: ‎07-26-2014

👍🏾 Pet Insurance 👍🏾

(Source:  Reuters) - U.S. insurance regulators are close to creating a legal standard for pet insurance that would address long-standing consumer complaints that insurers rarely pay up when their furry friends are not well.

 

A National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) committee is scheduled to meet on Friday to discuss fine-print provisions about several controversial issues. Among them: determining whether a pet’s condition is “pre-existing” and how long customers must wait after buying coverage to file claims.
The committee is preparing for NAIC’s national meeting in April, where regulators from all 50 states will congregate to discuss top-of-mind issues. The committee is getting closer to presenting the “model” pet insurance law to those regulators to approve. Then, state legislatures can decide whether to adopt the proposed law or create their own versions.
It is an important development at a time when the pet insurance market is poised to grow.

 

The pandemic led many Americans to adopt or purchase pets for companionship during extended lockdowns. Dog inquiries on Petfinder, an online pet directory, rose 36% for the year ended January 31, a spokeswoman said.

 

Less than 3% of U.S. pets are insured, compared to 20% in some European markets, according to IBISWorld. The research firm expects pet-insurance earnings to swell from $1.6 billion last year to $2.4 billion in 2025.

 

Policies are similar to human health coverage, with annual premiums and deductibles. Rates are typically based on animals’ ages and care levels. Pricier policies tend to have broader protections.

 

However, customers who buy insurance are often stunned by rejected claims, facing unexpected restrictions, or companies take aggressive stances about what should be covered.
For instance, Philadelphia-based consultant Chris Arlene pays Embrace Pet Insurance $45 a month to cover his dog, Chance. When Chance swallowed a stuffed animal last year, requiring hospitalization, Embrace initially denied the $1,100 claim, citing a “pre-existing condition” for eating objects.
“I was so emotionally distraught,” said Arlene.
He appealed the decision, providing additional information that convinced Embrace to pay, a spokeswoman said.
Experiences like Arlene’s are so common that California adopted consumer-protection laws about pet insurance beginning in 2014, and has since reinforced the rules. A pending bill would require insurers to include spaying and neutering in standard coverage.

 

U.S. insurance regulation is a state-by-state patchwork rather than a federally-managed process. That means NAIC’s proposal can be influential for states that have been less proactive than California, whose laws provided a mold.
NAIC’s move is especially important, consumer advocates said, as new entrants have flooded into the United States, hoping to get a piece of the growing pet-insurance pie.

 

Familiar insurance brands like Nationwide and MetLife Inc offer coverage, sometimes through employee-sponsored benefits programs. Trupanion and PetPlan have become big players, while Lemonade Inc entered the market last year. European insurer Bought By Many just launched ManyPets in Illinois on Thursday.
“You have to read the policy carefully,” said Robert Hunter, insurance director for the Consumer Federation of America. “I’ve never been a big fan despite having owned dozens of dogs.”

 

Hunter and others cautioned that NAIC’s suggestions will not be a panacea for customers expecting pet insurers to cover bills for dogs, cats, ferrets and iguanas who need medical help.
NAIC began working on the idea in 2016, and there is no guarantee states will embrace its proposal quickly, or at all. And insurers may fight claims even with tougher rules.

 

Pet insurers simply want customers to understand what they are buying, the North American Pet Health Insurance Association said in a March regulatory update. The industry group says a model law could “provide consistency” but wants a version that allows insurers to “remain competitive.”

 

For Gregory Allen, a restaurant worker in Baltimore, the changes may come too late.
Allen got a cat last year after losing his job due to government-imposed business shutdowns. The cat, Sir Purrs A Lot, soon began showing signs of an “excessive grooming” disorder, which can cause sores and infections.
Despite buying insurance, Allen has paid out of pocket for Sir Purrs A Lot’s vet visits, first because of a two-week waiting period for coverage and then because his insurer deemed the cat’s illness a pre-existing condition.
“My former therapist said that getting a pet would be really good for my mental health,” Allen said. “But with him being as sick as he is and having to deal with insurance, it’s like the opposite of that.”

 

 

"Never argue with a fool. Onlookers may not be able to tell the difference."


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Honored Contributor
Posts: 13,575
Registered: ‎10-25-2010

Re: 👍🏾 Pet Insurance 👍🏾

I have Pet Plan insurance.  One of my dogs needed surgery by a specialist.  She also had expensive lab tests and other diagnostic procedures and she was on meds for seven years.  

One year alone  I claimed $8000 worth of expenses for one dog..  No problems at all.

 

Many times claims are denied because the proper paper work is not sent with the bills.  I have a health insurance background and made sure correct and complete info was submitted the first time.  Rebursement was quick.

 

People fail to read the terms of the contract then get upset when they don't cover claims. You must do your homework before you buy pet insurance and not wait until your pet gets sick.   Pre X conditions will not be covered.

Respected Contributor
Posts: 4,128
Registered: ‎10-03-2014

Re: 👍🏾 Pet Insurance 👍🏾

[ Edited ]

I always get concerned when governments get involved in something; however, sometimes it's necessary.

 

I've had Nationwide, originally VPI, for over 20 years.  I was always paid for all my claims, but I got the policy when my dogs were puppies.  

 

Nationwide has always been clear about waiting times when purchasing a new policy.  

 

It's best to get insurance when dogs are puppies, so there's no pre-existing question.  

 

I can understand insurance companies' position though.  A rescue dog may present with a costly medical condition immediately when the owner hasn't paid into the policy.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Honored Contributor
Posts: 8,851
Registered: ‎03-09-2010

Re: 👍🏾 Pet Insurance 👍🏾

@Mz iMac -

I'm not sure after reading the article what is the bottom line of it?

Is it really a matter of what is a good vs not so good pet insurance?

What do you and others think?

"If you walk the footsteps of a stranger, you'll learn things you never knew. Can you sing with all the voices of the mountains? can you paint with all the colors of the wind?"
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Frequent Contributor
Posts: 109
Registered: ‎01-28-2012

Re: 👍🏾 Pet Insurance 👍🏾

Thanks for the information @Mz iMac

 

@CARMIE, could you please share which company you've used and liked? I'm thinking about getting it for my cat. Thanks!

Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 6,587
Registered: ‎03-09-2010

Re: 👍🏾 Pet Insurance 👍🏾

I'm glad the NAIC is getting involved. I represented a huge insurance company and worked with NAIC to write national insurance and securities regulations 1990-2010. For the most part, they are pretty reasonable.

 

I also investigated insurance fraud for many years so I'm pretty picky about what I buy and the company. I haven't purchased pet insurance yet because the fine print is, IMO, questionable for some of the companies. I'll feel better about it when the NAIC establishes regulations.

Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 6,587
Registered: ‎03-09-2010

Re: 👍🏾 Pet Insurance 👍🏾

I'm glad the NAIC is getting involved. I represented a huge insurance company and worked with NAIC to write national insurance and securities regulations 1990-2010. For the most part, they are pretty reasonable.

 

I also investigated insurance fraud for many years so I'm pretty picky about what I buy and the company. I haven't purchased pet insurance yet because the fine print is, IMO, questionable for some of the companies.

 

I'll feel better about it when the NAIC establishes regulations.

Honored Contributor
Posts: 15,334
Registered: ‎03-10-2010

Re: 👍🏾 Pet Insurance 👍🏾

I think one of the big problems is that people don't carefully read the entire policy.  I had Healthy Paws for my dog, Frankie.  When she had a seizure and spent two nights in the ER and then went to the Vet School for an MRI it was almost $10,000.  They paid 90% very quickly.

 

When I got Ava, my current dog, they wouldn't let me have 90% coverage (I heard their position on insuring certain breeds had changed).  I now have Trupanion for both my dog and cat, and they have paid 90% on everything I've presented to them.

 

That's my experience, and I would highly recommend both of these companies.


Day after day the whole day through, wherever my road inclined, four feet said 'I'm coming with you!' and trotted along behind. Kipling





Valued Contributor
Posts: 518
Registered: ‎02-10-2014

Re: 👍🏾 Pet Insurance 👍🏾

I bought the cheapest insurance plan for my cat- thinking I would *never* use it. It is $8 a month with $1k deductable. 6 months after I purchased, my cat needed life saving surgery and the insurance covered 90%. I'm so very grateful for Petsbest insurance. 

 

The catch with pet insurances for me is that you have to pay upfront for major surgeries. The days or weeks it takes waiting to see if your claim is  approved and you'll get your monies back is very stressful. And I think of all the people who have pet insurance and cant afford the upfront costs! 

Honored Contributor
Posts: 15,334
Registered: ‎03-10-2010

Re: 👍🏾 Pet Insurance 👍🏾


@NickNack wrote:

I think one of the big problems is that people don't carefully read the entire policy.  I had Healthy Paws for my dog, Frankie.  When she had a seizure and spent two nights in the ER and then went to the Vet School for an MRI it was almost $10,000.  They paid 90% very quickly.

 

When I got Ava, my current dog, they wouldn't let me have 90% coverage (I heard their position on insuring certain breeds had changed).  I now have Trupanion for both my dog and cat, and they have paid 90% on everything I've presented to them.

 

That's my experience, and I would highly recommend both of these companies.


 

 

I just wanted to add to my quoted post.  When Frankie needed the MRI at the Vet school, they quoted me the price.  I said that I was lucky that I had pet insurance.  The Vet told me to call my insurance co. and make sure because she just had someone who thought their insurance co. would cover it, and it didn't.  They couldn't afford the bill and had already done the MRI.

 

I knew my insurance would cover it because it was stated on the policy.  I called them anyway, and they covered it as I thought they would.

 

I can't stress enough how important it is to compare insurance companies.  The cheapest one is usually/often not the best.


Day after day the whole day through, wherever my road inclined, four feet said 'I'm coming with you!' and trotted along behind. Kipling