New York state senator James Skoufis (D-Rockland) has introduced a bill that would bar pet insurers from denying medical coverage to dogs or cats with pre-existing conditions or illnesses.
While well-intentioned, this is a really dumb idea.
Skoufis claims that pre-existing conditions for pets should be covered just like they are now covered for humans in the US.
That sound reasonable. However, there is a critical difference between pet and human health insurance that ensures this requirement won’t work. Humans are required to obtain health insurance, pets are not. Thus, if pet insurers are required to cover pre-existing conditions, pet owners would simply wait until their pet gets sick and then purchase insurance. This would quickly put all the pet insurance companies out of business.
Now if Skoufis wants to make pet insurance required for every dog and cat, then covering pre-existing conditions is fine. However, I don’t think even Bernie Sanders is ready to go this far.
A state politician from California introduced a similar bill several years ago, only to withdraw it after a discussion with the pet insurance industry. Hopefully this bill will also be short lived.