Just like human medical care has continued to improve each year, hard-working veterinarians, scientists, and researchers have been working to improve the care of our pets as well. The pet care industry is constantly changing; many new strategies are coming to the forefront, including new medications for a broader range of issues. From anti-anxiety medicine to pain relief, pets of all shapes and sizes are seeing more sophisticated and targeted treatment.
Pet owners shouldn’t forget that many companions need continuing care in the form of medicine over its lifetime – in addition to veterinary care and upfront costs. To put it in perspective, pet medication is the third leading expense in the U.S. pet industry, amounting to over $16 billion in 2018 according to the American Pet Products Association.
If your pet has chronic conditions, then medication
may become a regular expense. With that in mind, it may make sense to rely on
pet insurance to cover the recurring bill—as long as insurance covers the
medication. Let’s take a look at how pet insurance handles medicines for your
furry, scaly, or feathery friend.
How Does Pet Insurance Address Medication Expenses in General?
In general, pet insurance companies tend to cover the costs of medication so long as it’s prescribed by a veterinarian. Prescription drug coverage is typically part of a pet health insurance plan, but some companies may offer coverage only as an add-on to a pre-existing plan. Furthermore, there are exceptions depending on the pet, conditions treated, and insurance provider.
There are a few possible exceptions. Self-selected therapeutic treatments (like specific supplements) may not be covered. Similarly, choosing an alternate drug may reduce coverage. For example, opting for a stronger version of a prescribed medication may negate or reduce coverage unless you gain approval from your veterinarian. Some pet insurance plans may only cover routine medication and exclude emergency medication.
Some companies, such as Healthy
Paws and Trupanion, make a note that medications are covered, but this won’t
always be the case. Be sure to check with pet insurance providers before
applying to ensure your pet’s medication will be covered.
Different Medications and Coverage Options
Coverage for medications may vary by
insurance plan as well as medication type. To give you an idea on how much
these costs, medication types, and coverages can vary, here are a few common
medications with prices. Keep in mind that the following are low-end prices and
do not account for any veterinarian markup, scarcity, or dosage changes.
Average cost: $23 per bottle. Most insurance plans cover vet-issued antibiotics – a very common form of medication.
All-Natural Joint Supplements (DGP for Pets)
Average cost: $33 per bottle. Unless joint supplements are specifically prescribed by a veterinarian, typical insurance won’t cover them. Choosing to provide these to youpet ir pet may come out of pocket.
Average cost: $57 per bottle. Not all insurance will cover anxiety medication, but there are many plans that will, especially if the medicine is prescribed by a vet. Because anxiety is an ongoing condition, this cost could add up quickly without insurance.
Average cost: $63 per pack. Active treatment of parasitic infection is typically covered under pet medical insurance, but preventative care may not be.
Average cost: $30
per cycle. Because steroids are typically part of a
veterinarian-approved treatment plan, they are often covered by insurance.
At the end of the day, picking out a pet insurance policy requires plenty of research and consideration. Whether your pet requires medication or not, it pays to review what is and isn’t covered by your pet insurance provider. Coverage varies on an individual basis, and every pet is unique. You may find that pet insurance is unnecessary if you don’t expect to pay much for medication. On the other hand, it could be instrumental in affording chronic medications.
Written by Andrew from LendEDU. Andrew is a fan of both cats and dogs. At the moment, he has an orange Tabby, but he plans of adopting a brown or yellow Lab in the future!