Only in the USA: Health Insurance for Pets

Health insurance for humans in the US is a disaster when compared to other developed countries in the Western world. Not a day goes by without the media publishing some atrocious story about the flaws in the “system”. Recently a woman was sent a bill for $898,984 for her baby which was born premature. In another instance, one person’s father slipped and fell on the floor and was taken to the emergency room in a hospital. Despite having the Obamacare insurance, they had to pay close to $5,000 out of their pocket since insurance won’t cover it due to the deductible. So anyone can face such awful bills anytime.

When human insurance is such a mess, one of the fastest booming industry in the country is health insurance for pets. Americans’ obsession with pets is incredible.  Just like for humans, companies are peddling health insurance for pets and Americans are buying the policies in the millions. Realizing the growth potential in this line of business, life insurer Metlife bought privately-held PetFirst Healthcare LLC recently.

With that brief intro, below are some fascinating facts from a journal article yesterday. I will hi-light such unique facts in this new “Only in the USA” series starting today.

Pet Insurance Facts:

  • Pet Insurance Premium Volume in 2018 = $1.28 billion (doubled from 2014)
  • Number of Pets insured = 2.15 million (mostly dogs)
  • Covered pets population = 2.3% of total pets population.
  • Similar to human health insurance, pet insurance also includes annual premium, deductibles, co-payments, etc.

Source: Metlife Adopts Pers as Growth Business, WSJ, Nov 6, 2019

The irony of all this is nicely depicted in the below image from a recent article at The Economist:

Click to enlarge

Source: The Economist

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