New health coverage for vets’ service dogs

Jan. 27, 2014 – 06:00AM |
By Karen Jowers
Staff writer

Free medical coverage for the service dogs of veterans is now being handled under a new Veterans Affairs Department contract with pet health insurance company Trupanion.

The program pays 100 percent of the costs for veteran-owned service dogs for ongoing preventive care as well as emergency care and other medical treatments and prescription medications.

The coverage is available only to veteran-owned service dogs that VA has determined are eligible for the program, as well as VA-owned PTSD dogs. The contract is expected to speed up the process for reimbursement to veterinarians.

VA provides the information about eligible dogs directly to Trupanion. Information was not immediately available about how many dogs are eligible.

VA is mailing information to veterans whose dogs qualify for the program, and letting them know a package is coming from Trupanion with information about using the program. A Trupanion tag with the policy number will be in the packet.

Veterinarians submit their bills directly to Trupanion for reimbursement. If the veterinarian prefers to be paid before treatment, they can call Trupanion’s support team 24 hours a day, and the bill will be paid immediately.

“Veterans and veterinarians no longer have to worry about the cost of the treatment, giving veterinarians the ability to do what they do best — care for pets,” said Britta Gidican, a spokeswoman for Trupanion.

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