Earlier this year the US Department of Veterans Affairs awarded a contract to Seattle-based Trupanion to provide free pet insurance for veteran-owned service dogs according to an article in Parade last month.
That means, quite simply, that Trupanion will cover the veterinary costs for qualified service dogs enrolled in the program, including preventive care, prescription medications, emergency care, and other medical treatments for service dogs of VA-enrolled veterans.
Trupanion is rated as North America’s #1 pet insurance company (petinsurancereview.com, 8/1/2012).
“Most veterans that are in need of these animals to assist us in our daily living do not have access to the funds necessary to keep these animals in the level of health required for longevity,” veteran Minna Moonsammy told Parade. “As with human beings, those with insurance and the ability to pay healthcare costs are more likely to visit a doctor more often which prevents major health problems from getting out of control.”
The Department of Veteran Affairs determines the eligibility of the certified service dogs. Only those dogs they approve are eligible for free pet insurance.
According to Trupanion, the goal of the program is to make it very easy for these veterans to get health care for their service dogs. Here’s how it works:
- The VA owns the program and determines the eligibility of veterans and their service dogs.They give us contact information for approved veterans. All information is confidential. Trupanion cannot sign up veterans who have not been approved by the VA.
- Trupanion administers the program and pays the bills.We make sure that veterans have the information they need to get health care for their service dogs, and that veterinarians are paid quickly. We are accountable to the VA to do this to the best of our ability.
- Veterinarians provide expert health care to eligible service dogs.Once a dog has been seen and treated, we pay 100% of all coverable expenses within 48 hours.
- Approved US veterans may take their service dogs to any veterinarian in the US, Canada, and Puerto Rico—for check-ups, medical care, and emergencies alike.
This sounds like a fantastic program. Considering how the US has treated our veterans over the last few decades, paying for their service dogs’ pet insurance is the least the government can do. The only thing that would make it better would be to add coverage for the rapidly increasing number therapy dogs of veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Thanks to Trupanion for participating in this program. I’m glad to see a Seattle-based company participating in this groundbreaking program.