Does Pet Insurance Cover Prescriptions?
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Pet ownership is much different today than it was in the past. Years ago, dogs and cats were only taken to the vet when they needed annual vaccinations, for something serious or if the animal needed to be euthanized. Today, our pets play a much bigger role in our households and are often treated as family members, including trips to the vet not just for rabies shots, wellness checks and when they’re ill. A large part of the medication given to pets consists of pet prescriptions. Having pet insurance can be a big help in paying for certain medications.
What are Pet Prescriptions?
Pet prescriptions are pet medications that can only be obtained through a prescription and by a licensed veterinarian. They cannot be purchased over the counter. They are used to treat animal conditions and, while they may be similar to medications used for humans, come in doses and forms specifically for pets. They can often be quite costly, which is why so many pet owners try to find pet insurance that covers pet prescriptions. Some human commercial pharmacies carry pet medication that must be obtained with pet prescriptions.
Annual Cost of Pet Prescriptions
Raising a pet and keeping it healthy can add up in dollars through the course of the pet’s life. The most expensive part of raising a pet is medical expenses. Although the largest veterinary costs typically come from surgeries and treatment for serious illnesses, prescriptions can become costly as well, especially if the prescription is for long-term use. The annual cost of prescriptions for a pet can vary by these factors.
- The breed of dog – Some breeds of dogs are prone to developing serious health conditions, which will result in more prescription medications.
- The veterinary service – The cost for veterinary services and prescription medications can vary from one health provider to another.
- The pet’s overall health – A pet with a chronic or serious condition will incur higher medical bills.
Here are some examples of what the annual cost could be for prescriptions for a dog.
|Vaccinations – Many of these are annual shots that cover diseases like canine distemper, parainfluenza hepatitis, coronavirus, parvovirus and leptospirosis. This shot costs around||$60|
|Prescription dog food||$700/year|
|Insulin||$240-$1080/year depending on size of animal|
$360 to $800/year depending on the size of dog and type of allergy
Plans That Cover Prescriptions
With the increasing number of dogs now receiving prescription medication, more pet insurance companies are offering coverage for a variety of prescription medications. Here is an overview of six different pet insurance companies as well as what medications they include in their coverage. Depending on the company, the prescription medication may be covered in the basic plan or may be purchased extra as part of a wellness or prescription plan.
Pets Best covers a wide variety of prescription drugs for pets. While the comprehensive list they show on their coverage page includes hundreds of different drugs, most of them are prescribed for common ailments suffered by pets. Some of the drugs offered include:
- Herbal medications
- Prescription vitamins and supplements
- Isopropyl Alcohol
Embrace pet insurance covers a wide variety of prescription drugs used for covered medical conditions.
- Allergy medication
- Pain relievers
- Ear and eye drops
- Ear cleaning drops
- Flea, tick and heartworm preventatives
- Oral chemotherapy
- Insulin and supplies
- Prescription dog food
- Anxiety medication
- Medicated shampoo
- Nutritional supplements
In addition to prescription food and prescription supplements, Spot Pet Insurance covers just about any prescription medication used for a covered medical condition as long as it’s a medication that’s used in the veterinary world and approved by the FDA. While they do cover prescription foods, they do not cover pet treats, homemade diets, weight loss foods or foods used for general health maintenance.
Trupanion only offers one plan, but it covers many things, including prescription medication. They cover just about all prescription medications as long as a licensed veterinarian prescribes them, and they are used to treat a covered injury or illness. In most cases, Trupanion covers 90% of the cost of the medication, and there are no payout limits. Trupanion also covers prescription supplements if they are used to treat a covered illness or injury. They also cover 50% of the cost of prescription food after the pet owner pays the deductible and co-payment amount.
Nationwide offers a basic plan called Medical Coverage, which is their small, budget-friendly plan. They also offer a comprehensive plan called Complete Coverage. Both plans cover the cost of prescription drugs used to treat covered conditions. There may be a deductible or co-pay amount the pet owner may be required to pay.
Healthy Paws is another pet insurance company that only offers one policy, but they believe it covers all that it needs to cover. There are no incident, yearly or payout limit amounts. They do cover prescription drugs as long as a licensed vet has prescribed them for a covered medical illness or injury and not part of a pre-existing condition.
In just about all the pet insurance companies, deductibles and co-payment amounts must be paid before the insurance pays the cost of the prescription medications.
As always, check with your individual plan before assuming they will pay a claim, and remember that if you enroll your pet into pet insurance with any type of preexisting condition, your pet insurance provider will likely deny any claim related to that condition, even for prescription medications.