California will get pet-insurance disclosure rules

Reprinted from the Associated Press

SACRAMENTO (AP) – The overhaul of health insurance marketplaces in California is now spreading to Fido and Snowball.

Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday said he has signed a bill to add disclosure rules for the mostly unregulated pet insurance industry.

AB2056 requires insurers to clearly explain their policies to pet owners, including annual coverage limits and disqualifying pre-existing conditions. It takes effect in July 2015.

The bill by Democratic Assemblyman Matt Dababneh of Encino responds to consumer complaints about confusing and misleading policies. Pet owners have reported unexpected out-of-pocket veterinarian costs and claim denials.

The legislation also gives policyholders a 30-day trial period to try out their insurance. The state Department of Insurance can fine insurance companies up to $10,000 for violations.

Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed a similar bill in 2008.

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