Knowing whether or not insurance covers service dogs is important in order to ensure our pets receive the care they need. Service dogs are specially-trained to assist with a variety of tasks and can provide an invaluable source of comfort and assistance. In order for these animals to receive the proper care, it is essential that we understand what coverage may be available under our health insurance plans. Additionally, being aware of any deductibles, co-pays, or other limits on coverage is important when making decisions about care for our service dogs.
Service animals, mainly service dogs, have been helping those living with disabilities dating all the way back to the Roman Empire. The importance of these animals cannot be understated, because they help improve the quality of life of so many, and help maintain independence.
While service dogs help to assist a persons with medical disabilities, does that mean they are covered under most health insurance policies? Unfortunately, no, service dogs and other service animals are not covered under your health coverage. That includes public programs such as Medicaid and Medicare as well.
These specially trained animals can be incredibly expensive. So, if you’re worried about how you may be able to afford it, we’ve put together a list of the best ways you can finance your service animal in 2023.
How Much Does A Service Animal Cost?
Buying or adopting a dog can be expensive in itself, and can range in price from a couple of hundred dollars to thousands of dollars based on the breed. However, oftentimes the animal itself is actually the least expensive part of the process.
The cost of owning and caring for a service animal in 2023 can vary significantly. It largely depends on the specific breed and type of dog, as well as the necessary care and training that must happen before the animal is made available to be a service animal. Costs can range from several hundred dollars to over one thousand dollars, depending on the individual needs of the pet, as well as any specialized equipment that may be required. Additionally, many people tend to underestimate the ongoing costs such as food, grooming, vet bills, and other supplies that are necessary for proper care.
Training a service dog can typically cost anywhere between $15,000 to $30,000. The exact amount depends upon the breed of dog that you have, and how much training he or she needs. If that number seems shocking, you’re not alone.
Why Service Animals Are So Expensive
Service animals are expensive for a few different reasons. First and foremost, it takes time and money to acquire and train a service animal to perform the tasks necessary for them to be beneficial to their owners. Service animals also need regular vet checkups, as well as grooming services and special diets in order meet the needs of their owners. Additionally, many people underestimate the cost of regular maintenance such as food, toys, and other supplies that are needed to keep the pet healthy and comfortable. All these costs combined make owning and caring for a service animal an expensive endeavor.
Does Insurance Cover Service Dogs?
Having a service dog can be a great asset for those with disabilities, but the cost of owning one can be prohibitive. Fortunately, most insurance companies provide coverage for service dogs just as they do for any other pet. This means that the same restrictions and deductibles will apply to service dogs as they do to any other pet. However, it is important to note that insurance does not typically cover the cost of training a service dog, though some tax deductions may be available. Additionally, there are programs such as the Assistance Dog Special Allowance Program which provides eligible persons with a monthly payment of $50 to help cover costs associated with having a guide, signal or service dog.
You will then be offered a Flexible Spending Account (FSA), which will let you use your salary before your taxes are taken out so the animal ends up being less expensive than it would be if you paid for it right out of pocket.
Does Medicare, Medicaid, Or The VA Help Pay?
No, federal healthcare programs will not cover the cost of your service animal. Meaning, you will have to find a way to pay for the adoption, food, and all other veterinary care for your service dog. However, with disability benefits, you may receive an allowance or stipend each month that can help lower the cost of your service animal.
What Type Of Financial Assistance Is Available?
If you are still concerned about how to afford a service animal, then there are some financial assistance programs that could help you out. Nonprofits, like the
- Service Dogs for America
- Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind
- Canine Companions for Independence
- International Association of Assistance Dog Partners
are designed to raise money to help people find service animals and get one without having to pay a huge amount of money. They are passionate about making sure people with disabilities are given the help they need without going broke in the process.
Other Great Ways To Pay For Service Dogs
If you don’t qualify for disability benefits, or are struggling to get help from a nonprofit organization, there are still ways for you to finance your own service dog. Below are the best ways to afford a service animal in 2020.
Social media is more powerful than ever and we have the ability to reach hundreds of people every time we log on. One very powerful way to help you raise money to get a service animal is by starting a fundraiser campaign and sharing it on social media. Explain to people why you need a service animal and how their donation will help, and you will raise money in no time.
Start A Service Animal Savings Account
This is not the easiest method, and it is one that will most definitely take the longest time if you do not have much expendable money to put into a savings account. However, putting just a little bit of money away every month when you can can add up fairly quickly and get you on your way to being able to purchase and care for your service dog after some time.
Getting A Personal Loan
A personal loan is something that you should use only if you have exhausted all of the other resources. It may take time to pay off your loan but it can get you the money you need to get your service animal without having to wait too long for it to happen.
If you live with a disability, then getting a service animal may be absolutely necessary to help you function and lead a normal life, but their cost may make that necessity impossible. With enough research and reaching out to the right channels, you may be able to get help with the cost so you can get the service animal you need to make your life easier.