Pet owners would gain more consumer protections in the care and treatment of their beloved pets under terms of two bills approved by a Senate committee today.
One measure, S-3327, entitled the “Pet Insurance Act,” sponsored by Senator Vin Gopal and Senator Joe Cryan, would establish consumer guidelines for insurance policies covering pets.
“Pets play an important role in the lives of many families who want to protect their health and wellbeing,” said Senator Gopal (D-Monmouth). “The use of insurance policies for pets has increased dramatically to cover treatment that can be expensive. The Pet Insurance Act will provide basic consumer safeguards so pet owners are treated honestly and fairly.”
According to the bill, policies sold in New Jersey would be prohibited from imposing waiting periods for accident coverage and would have to include the disclosure of exclusions and limitations, including those for pre-existing or chronic conditions, and for congenital or hereditary disorders. The policies would also have to disclose any required waiting periods and any reductions in coverage as the pets age, in addition to other protections.
The other bill, S-3137, sponsored by Senator Cryan, would require veterinarians and animal hospitals to inform pet owners of the costs for standard and emergency services.
“This makes sense for consumers by helping them make informed choices about the cost of care for their pets,” said Senator Cryan (D-Union). “The cost of veterinary care has outpaced the CPI by 18 percent in recent years while the prices charged by clinics can vary wildly. Consumers deserve straightforward information when making decisions that are so important to them.”
The bill would require an animal and veterinary facility to post prices on their websites and make hard copies available at the facility.
The Senate Commerce Committee approved S-3137 with a vote of 4-0 and S-3327 with a vote of 5-0.