Reimbursement for Prescription Pet Medications


Bryan Huynh

- Updated February 22, 2024

Reimbursement for Prescription Pet Medications

Pet medication enhances the quality of life and longevity for thousands of dogs, cats, and our other furry friends.

This perk comes at a price, especially in dire times of need.

Pet parents can plan ahead by getting pet insurance with prescription coverage to help pay for essential medications veterinarians prescribe.

You don’t have to spend a fortune to protect your invaluable friends. Read this article to learn more about the factors that impact the reimbursement for prescription pet medications.

Understanding the Costs of Pet Prescription Medications

As with any product, knowing how much pet medications cost can help you compare prices so you can save money while maintaining your little one’s well-being. Here are some common pet medications and their average costs:

  • Antibiotics: $115.35
  • Antiparasitics: $178.86 (average price for dog and cat antiparasitics)
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories: $56.93
  • Opioid pain relievers: $37.50 for butorphanol
  • Steroids: $14.55 for prednisone

Although prices vary by medication type and dosage, you can see that if your pet needs multiple prescriptions, especially for the long term, then you could pay hundreds of dollars a month. Your pet is worth it, but can your wallet withstand the financial blow?

Pet Insurance and Prescription Medications

Pet insurance providers typically cover medication for conditions listed in your policy's coverage when prescribed by a licensed veterinarian. This coverage can greatly lower the costs of expensive drugs that might otherwise be unaffordable.

Types of pet insurance plans

Accident-only plans specifically cover medications related to accidents. Accident-and-illness plans include medications for covered health conditions.

Typical insurance exclusions

Routine medications like heartworm prevention, flea, and tick control, and vaccinations are typically not covered unless you choose a wellness care add-on. Medications associated with non-covered procedures such as spaying, neutering, microchipping, or cosmetic procedures are also excluded. Coverage for medication concerning preexisting conditions is often limited among providers.

How it works

Once you have a policy, you initially pay for pet prescriptions yourself. Then you file a claim for reimbursement from the insurance company. The reimbursement amount depends on your chosen rate, co-pay, and deductible status.


Process of Reimbursement for Pet Prescription Medications

The reimbursement process is generally the same for every insurance provider:

  1. Pay the veterinarian bill immediately after the visit.
  2. Fill out a pet insurance claim form.
  3. Submit the claim and necessary documents to the insurer per their instructions.
  4. Receive the reimbursement either through direct deposit or a check.

Factors Influencing Reimbursement

Policy terms

The amount you pay for your pet insurance policy depends on the coverage it offers. Policies with higher premiums often provide more comprehensive coverage and higher reimbursement percentages for prescription medications. Additionally, pet insurance policies have maximum limits that determine the maximum reimbursement amount within a specific policy period. If your policy has a low maximum limit, it may limit the amount you can be reimbursed for pet prescriptions.

Co-pays and deductibles

The reimbursement you get for pet prescriptions depends on eligible expenses after deductibles and co-pays. If you have a higher co-pay percentage, you'll receive lower reimbursement because you're responsible for a larger portion of the costs through co-pays.

Type of medication

Policies usually cover medications for specific conditions listed in the policy, but some medications or preexisting conditions may be excluded. Knowing the reimbursement structure for different medication types, like tiered reimbursement for generic or brand-name medications, helps manage costs effectively.


Maximizing Your Reimbursement for Pet Prescription Medications

Choose the right policy

Getting the most from your pet insurance begins with finding the best policy. Compare policies and prioritize those that provide comprehensive coverage for medications. Seek policies with higher reimbursement percentages and fewer exclusions for prescription drugs.

Understand your policy

Take time to familiarize yourself with the coverage limits, co-pays, deductibles, and any exclusions or restrictions related to medications. Knowing what your policy covers and how it works will help you get what you are owed. You should also read your insurance provider's reimbursement policies and guidelines. Pay careful attention to specific requirements for submitting claims, providing supporting documentation, or adhering to reimbursement time frames.

Use preferred providers

Take advantage of insurance plans that offer a network of preferred providers or pharmacies with discounted rates. Using preferred providers can reduce the overall cost of medications and increase your potential reimbursement.

Document everything

Having comprehensive documentation readily available will help streamline the claims process and ensure you receive proper reimbursement. Keep well-organized records of all veterinary visits, prescriptions, and receipts for medications.

Submit claims as soon as possible

Delaying the submission of your claims can lead to delays in receiving reimbursement. Take a proactive approach and promptly submit the required documentation to your insurance provider.


Understanding Appeals for Reimbursement Denials

If you're unsatisfied with a claim denial, don't hesitate to appeal. If a claim was denied because the treatment wasn't covered, you may choose to let it go. However, if you disagree with the denial, inquire about the insurer's appeals process. Each provider may have a different process in place.

If the issue remains unresolved, you can file a complaint with your state's insurance department. These departments oversee insurance companies and handle complaints. Reach out to get further assistance and work towards a resolution.

An appeals process example

Step 1: Contact the insurance provider

Get in touch with your insurance provider's customer service department to express your intention to appeal the denial.

Step 2: Request appeal instructions

Ask your insurance provider how to proceed. They should tell you what to do. If they do not, then you might want to contact your state’s insurance department.

Step 3: Collect the relevant documents

Gather all of the documentation that strengthens your case for reimbursement. This can include medical records, prescriptions, invoices, or any other pertinent information that clearly shows the necessity of the medication.

Step 4: Submit the appeal

Fill out the appeal form given by your insurance provider (if applicable), providing a thorough explanation of why you believe the denial should be reversed. Attach the supporting documentation that supports your claim.

Step 5: Follow up

Keep current with the progress of your appeal by regularly communicating with the insurance provider.


Alternative Ways to Save on Pet Prescription Medications

Buy from somewhere else

Purchasing medication directly from the veterinarian's office may seem convenient, but it might be more expensive. If you need to buy regular medication for your pet, you can save by purchasing from alternative sources.

Ask for a less-expensive alternative

You don’t have to settle for an expensive option. You can request a less expensive medication if there is one available. This may include the generic version of a well-known brand or even the human version if it exists.

Subscribe to a pharmacy prescription plan

You can take advantage of prescription drug savings programs offered by well-known pharmacies, which can help you save money on both human and pet medications.

Buy in bulk

If your pet requires daily medication, it's worth considering buying in bulk if that’s a viable option. You can often find a lower price by purchasing a 90-day supply compared to buying three separate 30-day supplies.


Case Study

Emma, a proud cat owner, purchased a comprehensive pet insurance policy that covered prescription medications for her beloved feline companion, Whiskers.

One day, Whiskers developed a urinary tract infection and needed antibiotics. Emma took Whiskers to the veterinarian, paid for the medications herself, and promptly submitted a reimbursement claim to her insurance company. Emma made sure to include copies of the veterinary invoice, prescription details, and proof of payment. She also provided a brief explanation of the medical necessity, relaying how it fell within the coverage of her policy.

After submitting the claim, Emma frequently checked the status of her claim, even verifying that the provider received all of the required paperwork.

The insurance provider processed Emma's claim and reimbursed her for the eligible expenses, including the cost of the prescribed medications.

The Future of Pet Prescription Medication Reimbursement

A recent report indicates a promising future for pet medications. This growth is driven by a strong emphasis on pet well-being, advancements in veterinary medicine as well as the growing availability of pet medication and veterinary services both online and in physical stores. The coverage of pet medications may extend to various areas such as anxiety, pain management, cancer, obesity, and diabetes. This could result in higher reimbursement rates for eligible expenses. Pet owners can save more when taking care of their fur babies.

Paw-scription Profits

Pet insurance policies often include reimbursement for prescription pet medications. This can become a valuable benefit for pet owners and their loved ones. Owners can save money and enjoy their pets longer. Pets can live healthier lives. It’s a win-win situation.

Owners can make the most of their reimbursements by learning all they can about their specific pet insurance policies. This involves understanding important details such as coverage limits, co-pays, deductibles, and any exclusions or restrictions related to medications. Armed with this knowledge, pet owners can select policies that provide comprehensive coverage for prescription drugs.

Pet Prescription Medication Reimbursement FAQ

Why do I need a prescription in the first place?

When your veterinarian prescribes a medication for your pet, it means they have determined it to be necessary and beneficial for your pet's specific health issue. Keeping these drugs prescription-only ensures that they are used safely and appropriately, preventing any potential harm to your pet.

I can’t afford a prescribed drug and don’t have pet insurance. Can I give an over-the-counter drug for humans to my pet instead?

While some products may be approved for human use, they may not be safe or suitable for pets. Your veterinarian can provide guidance and make sure that any medication you give to your pet is appropriate and will not cause it harm.

What's the difference between the brand name and generic name of a medication?

Brand names are the familiar and trademarked names you come across on store shelves and in advertisements. Generic names are the non-proprietary names of the drug that remains consistent across all versions, whether brand-name or generic.

How much does pet insurance cost?

The price you pay for pet insurance can be different based on various factors, such as the type of pet you have, their age, breed, where you live, the coverage options you select, and the insurance company you go with.

Are there payout limits?

Some pet insurance companies may set restrictions on the maximum payout a pet can receive throughout its lifetime or within a specific year.

Can I just settle for the cheapest pet insurance?

Choosing the cheapest pet health insurance may seem tempting. However, cheap pet insurers often employ various cost-cutting measures, including annual policies that reset each year, meaning newly diagnosed conditions become pre-existing upon renewal and will not be covered. Lower-cost policies may save you money at first, but they can cause higher out-of-pocket expenses over time.

How long do pet insurance claims take?

Each insurance provider operates differently and as such, the time it takes for them to process claims may vary slightly from one claim to another. Check with your provider to get an estimate of their claim processing time.

Are there any limitations or restrictions on reimbursement?

Reimbursement for pet prescription medications may have limitations or restrictions. These could include maximum reimbursement amounts, specific coverage exclusions, or requirements for pre-authorization. Review your policy for more information.

Can I choose any veterinarian or pharmacy for reimbursement?

Whether you can choose any veterinarian or pharmacy for reimbursement depends on the pet insurance policy you have. Some policies may have a network of preferred providers or pharmacies, while others may allow you the flexibility to select any licensed professional. As always, refer to your policy to find out for sure.

Can I get reimbursed for medications purchased from online pharmacies?

Certain pet insurance policies may offer reimbursement for medications bought from online pharmacies. Some policies may have specific requirements, such as needing a prescription from a licensed veterinarian or limitations on eligible online pharmacies.

About The Author

Bryan Huynh

Bryan Huynh

Product Tester & Writer

Bryan Huynh is a dedicated Product Tester & Writer. Just as insurance has your back, Bryan works to review and inform you about the wide range of insurance products available, ranging from business, auto, health, home, pet, to life insurance.

The Latest Articles

Read Articles