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Pet Insurance and Prescription Medication Coverage

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Pet insurance is something that people, even those who have it, might not think about a lot. But if you want to keep your pet happy and healthy, it can be an essential. Veterinarian visits are costly, and if a pet has a chronic condition that requires regular treatment, bills can pile up faster than you’d think. One of the more contentious things, just like in regular health insurance, is prescription medication. So, does pet insurance cover prescriptions?

Just like any other form of insurance, different policies and companies will cover different things. Some plans are Accident-Only, and will cover only injuries caused by an accident. Others are Accident and Illness, which will cover both injuries and diagnosed sicknesses, but might not cover pre-existing conditions or diseases for which there are vaccines. Comprehensive insurance offers the widest coverage, but depending on your provider, there may be certain things that aren’t covered (Jolly). One should always check with their provider to check what is covered and what isn’t, and should always make sure that any paperwork is clear and concise in regards to coverage.

The most common types of pet medications are over-the-counter preventatives. Heartworm and flea or tick medications are something that almost every pet has to take over the course of their lives, and are not covered by most forms of pet insurance due to their ease of access and relative affordability. Another type of medication that can be purchased without a prescription is eye and ear drops.

Eye and ear drops can be found both online and in pet stores, and are used to treat infected eyes and ears. It is important to never use human medication to treat your pet, and these are no exception. Pet-safe drops can be found without a prescription, but may be prescribed by a veterinarian, especially if the infections is severe. Whether or not pet insurance will cover them usually depends on if the infection is new. If it is, then depending on your policy and provider, then the drops will most likely be covered, but not if the pet has a history of chronic infections. (Bentham).

Less common medications include, but are not limited to, insulin, antibiotics, antidepressants, antianxiety meds, and, sadly, chemotherapy treatments. Most of these require a prescription, which, without insurance, can be costly. All of these are coverable, but as with everything else, it all depends on your provider and your policy. If you want to make absolutely sure that your pet will be covered, then it’s important to speak with your insurance company and get a definitive answer as to whether or not certain medications will be covered.

A big factor in whether or not your pet’s medications will be covered is timing. If your pet already has a prescription while you’re searching for insurance, then the likelihood that that medication will be covered decreases significantly. If it is covered, then the coverage will likely be less than ideal and more expensive than if the policy had taken effect before the medication was prescribed. The official term for this is a pre-existing condition.

A pre-existing condition is any health problem or issue that your pet has prior to the activation of the insurance. They increase the price of your insurance and can be a problem when you’re trying to get them to approve treatment or meds. Some plans won’t cover them at all and others require an add-on that costs an additional fee. It’s important to get pet insurance sooner rather than later, and to not let it lapse, so that you can ensure your pet gets everything they need for their maximum quality of life. Something to keep in mind for that is how predisposed your pet is to certain health issues.

Different breeds of dogs have different body types, sizes, and health issues. The most common and well-known types of dogs, ironically, have some of the worst. Pugs and Bulldogs have respiratory issues due to their shortened snouts and face shapes, Siberian Huskies are prone to autoimmune disorders, Labradors and Retrievers are prone to becoming obese without regular diet and exercise, and German Shepherds can suffer from hip dysplasia (“Popular Dog Breeds”). Not all of these have medications as part of their treatment, but the ones that do can be costly and difficult to cover.

When buying a pet insurance policy, one must always take into account their breed of dog. If the breed is not known, DNA tests are available at most major pet retailers. If the breed is known, it’s important to research common health issues associated with it and make absolutely sure that medications and treatments for those issues are covered when buying a policy. Mixes are less prone to these issues, so if you have a dog with a lot of different breeds mixed together, it becomes less important, but not completely unimportant, to do the research and ensure coverage.

Cat breeds are less well-known, but they are not without their health issues. Cats are experts at hiding pain and sickness, so if a cat is purebred and the breed is known, one must do the research and ensure coverage just like with a dog. Common shorthair cats and cats without a distinctive breed are less prone to breed-related health issues, but a DNA test can reveal vital information about what one would need to watch for with their cat.

In summation, it’s not impossible to cover prescription medications for a pet, but it can be costly and difficult, as is with any form of insurance. One must always read through an insurance policy and any related paperwork carefully in order to ensure that, if it becomes necessary, coverage will be provided for prescription medications.

Also Read: Pet Insurance Copayments

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