The administrators of Paris, France, have decided to introduce a council-sponsored scheme to subsidize the health insurance of cats and dogs living in the city. It’s believed to be a world first. It will greatly reduce the cost because it is believed that pets are particularly vulnerable in the City of Light.
It is believed that the novel insurance plan will allow owners to extend their medical care to cover dogs and cats for about £52 a year which is clearly a lot less than the normal cost.
The council is currently asking insurers to submit bids to get the best possible price. John Philippe Gillet, a Communist councillor dreamt up the scheme. Remarkably, he won approval across the political spectrum. He said that the scheme was passed unanimously and that the cost to owners would be about €60 a year.
To French citizens, the concept of local governments contributing to health insurance is known as a ‘mutuelle‘. This system is being applied to pets in Paris. And the reason is said to be because cats and dogs in Paris are surrounded by hazards such as air pollution and falls from high-rise apartments.
The council announced that Paris’s 250,000 cats and a 100,000 dogs are exposed to more severe hazards than pets living in other parts of France.
A Parisien veterinarian said: “In Paris there is environmental, physical and mental stress and a phenomenon of premature ageing. Dogs taken for walks in the street are close to car exhausts and they suffer from the effects of pollution, which destroys the cell membranes and is a factor in the development of cancers.”
Another vet in Paris working in the 16th arrondissement, Lionel Schilliger, said that common pet diseases in Paris included an infection transmitted by rat urine which dogs contract by drinking water from puddles. The disease is called leptospirosis. And he said that he often has to treat cats that have fallen from high-rise apartments. He calls them “parachute cats” in recognition of the way cats fan out their bodies to slow their fall.
Often the cats arrive with fractured pelvis or legs. And full-time indoor cats in Paris are, as we know, more prone to obesity which leads to health problems such as feline diabetes. And there is a ubiquitous problem of being run over by vehicles.
All these pressing factors have convinced the council to introduce this subsidised pet health insurance scheme. It reduces the cost of insurance tremendously. By comparison, private health insurance in France often runs to about €2,400 annually according to Dr. Schilliger.
Comment: this is the sort of thing that is unthinkable in the UK. It would never happen in Britain or London.
The Paris scheme is interesting for the fact that it is a form of public health service not that dissimilar to the NHS in the UK which is entirely funded out of taxpayer’s money. The Paris scheme which is for pets and not people is similar to the health service scheme for humans in for example Germany where the health service is partly funded privately and partly through public funds.
The Paris pet insurance scheme is a hybrid system – part private and part public which is arguable the way forward for all types of health insurance.
Please search using the search box at the top of the site. You are bound to find what you are looking for.