tracemyip.org

VA Will Pay 100% Vet Costs For Veteran Dog Program

“The Department of Veteran Affairs (VA), in conjunction with Trupanion, launched the U.S. Veteran Service Dog Program on January 27th, 2014. The program will allow U.S. veterans with certified service dogs unlimited access to veterinary care. The program enables Trupanion to pay 100% of veterans’ certified service dogs’ veterinary bills.”

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The VA will provide a list of the certified service dogs eligible for the program to Trupanion. Each dog will have a tag with a policy number created by Trupanion similar to the ones current policyholders wear. “All [veterans] have to do is show that to their veterinarian and the veterinarian can rest assured Trupanion will pay the bill,” Trupanion’s spokesperson says.

Veterans who request a service dog and qualify according to a VA evaluation do not pay for the dog or the associated training. For more information on the Veterans Health Administration’s guide and service dog benefits, go to va.gov.  Trupanion has a two-year contract with the VA for the U.S. Veteran Service Dog Program.  For more information or if you have questions about the program, call Trupanion at (855) 482-0163.

Service dogs belonging to American military veterans are now covered by comprehensive private health insurance under a new arrangement by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

A contract between the VA and the company Trupanion provides payment for care by licensed veterinarians of working service and guide dogs that have been approved by the VA as medically necessary for VA-enrolled veterans, according to the agency.

For now, that amounts to about 400 dogs, VA spokeswoman Genevieve Billia said by email. “The number will fluctuate as new dogs are enrolled, or as the animals die or retire,” Billia said.

The agreement with the insurer, which took effect January 27th, is known as an “Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity” contract, which means the cost of the contract to the government varies depending on the number of dogs being covered. Billia said the maximum allotted by the government for the contract is $5.6 million over two years. Essentially, the government is paying an insurance premium for each enrolled dog, Trupanion spokeswoman Britta Gidican said.

The insurance provides 100 percent payment for all wellness and sick care for eligible dogs. Services and products not covered are: elective surgery; non-prescription medications and other over-the-counter items, including flea control; non-prescription food, including dietary supplements and weight-loss diets; non-sedated teeth cleaning; boarding that is not medically necessary; grooming and nail trimming.

The dogs are eligible as long as they are working. “When the dog reaches an age or condition such that it can no longer provide the services for which it is trained, then the dog is retired from service” and its government-paid coverage is suspended, according to Billia.

Eligible dogs are given identification tags showing their respective policy numbers, and their owners receive identification cards, as well, Gidican said. Veterinarians seeing a covered patient may be paid immediately by calling the insurance company to obtain a credit-card payment. Gidican said Trupanion is making staff available 24 hours a day every day to provide the service.

Veterinarians also may opt to install a computer application in order to be paid electronically, or submit bills by email or fax, which typically would be paid within 48 hours, Gidican said.

The program “empowers and encourages veterinarians to simply do what is absolutely the best for the dog, no matter the cost,” Gidican said. “Veterinarians can always go with Plan A now when treating and caring for veteran-owned service dogs in this program.”

The program involves no restrictions on pricing, such as is common in health insurance for people. “We do not determine the price of the medical care,” Gidican said “We don’t negotiate it; we don’t have benefit-scheduling.”

She added: “We really want veterinarians to know this isn’t a joke. Their bills are really being paid by us, promise.”

Gidican said the company is hopeful no practitioner would attempt to take advantage of the program. “We have to put some things into place to make sure we’re not getting scammed,” she acknowledged. “We’ll work it out. We just haven’t quite thought of that at all.”

She added, “We are predicting an uptick in veterinary visits simply because all of the services will be paid for now.”

While private insurance coverage for veterans’ service dogs is new, government-paid medical coverage for the dogs is not. The VA has paid their veterinary bills since 1961, administering the program in-house, agency spokeswoman Billia said.

Billia, the VA spokeswoman, said the provision of commercial insurance for veterinary care of veterans’ service dogs and guide dogs was written in a federal regulation published in September 2012.

Billia said the VA recognizes guide dogs for blindness and vision impairments; and service dogs for deafness and mobility disorders. The insurance coverage also extends to dogs acquired through a VA Office of Research contract for participation in a study on the use of service dogs by veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder.

The agency does not recognize animals other than dogs as service animals. Pets and comfort or companion animals are not eligible for the insurance program, nor are retired military working dogs.

Trupanion was one of three private insurance companies to compete for the contract, the VA said. The privately held company was founded in Canada in 1999, and expanded to the United States in 2007 with offices in Seattle. Gidicam said the company became licensed to insure in all 50 states in 2012.

Source: Trupanion.com

13 Comments On “VA Will Pay 100% Vet Costs For Veteran Dog Program”

  1. Hi James

    The program that the VA did pay for was only for one year through Trupanion. It is no longer available.

  2. The VA told me they don’t provide or endorse ESA’s or Mental Health Service Dogs for veterans, and will only provide mobility assistance and seeing eye dogs.

  3. Hi Robert

    I agree with you. I later found out that Trupanion was only run for one year and they have discontinued it. I hope they restart it again as the need is very big.

  4. I have an emotional support dog that is losing her ability to walk from luxating patella. She needs braces that I cannot afford. I am a female disabled veteran. I’ve been trying for so long to find some help. If anyone knows where I could turn could you please let me know? 916 370 0010

  5. The VA is using an old regulation to not pay for all service dogs for disabled veterans it is a catch 22 for the VA so they do not have to pay out for the Veterans that have service dogs.
    I have contacted Timothy M. Kennedy, Senator Marc Panepinto, Brian Higgins, and Senator Charles E Schumer, Governor Cuomo and now I am contacting you on behalf of the 886,000 Veterans in New York State. There is a serious problem with the Veterans administration on their policy on allowing only certain Service Dogs to have Trupanion insurance. The VA hospital is discriminating against service dog owners, because they are not allowing service Dog owners who have PTSD or TBI service dog Insurance through Trupanion, because they have stated that PTSD and TBI are not medical, and that “this” is a very grey area? So let’s make it black and white? Also, if our service dogs are not a dog that is accredited through ADI, Assistance Dog International, “They” are not allowed insurance either. So if we have PTSD, TBI, or our dog is not accredited through ADI then they are telling those service dog owners that they are not eligible for trupanion insurance due to the fact that they must follow ADI accredited schools, there are only 11 accredited schools in the United States of America that will will give certification that they are ADI accredited. The Veterans Administration has in their own outdated memorandum dated 1975 when they would only allow Seeing Eye dogs in the VA, The VA has to come into the 21st century and stop quoting and outdated memorandum, and stating that they only recognize ADI certification as their guidelines, that Sir is discrimination.
    Do you realize how many young Veterans are going to come home, in need of having a service dog help them through life? Dogs that will not come from one of the 11 accredited ADI schools? They will not be able to afford insurance and that may hinder them from trying to get a service dog.
    I have done everything that Trupanion insurance has asked me to do, I am a disabled veteran with a service dog and I have also done everything the VA hospital has told me I have to do, only to be denied by the VA because my service dog does not have accredited papers from Assistance Dog International (ADI). Nowhere in Trupanions promise to the Veteran does it say that I have to be accredited to an ADI school, but the VA in its infinite wisdom has a lot of Veterans in a catch 22, telling us that they can pick and choose whose service dog gets insurance? That is discrimination, please help change this so that any service dog that has been accredited by the ADA regulations is allowed to receive free veterinary care, thank you for your time, Bob Ackley
    TRUPANION INSURANCE ANOUNCES
    VA Will Pay 100% Vet Costs For Veteran Dog Program

    January 31, 2014
    “The Department of Veteran Affairs (VA), in conjunction with Trupanion, launched the U.S. Veteran Service Dog Program on January 27th, 2014. The program will allow U.S. veterans with certified service dog’s unlimited access to veterinary care. The program enables Trupanion to pay 100% of veterans’ certified service dogs’ veterinary bills.”
    The VA will provide a list of the certified service dogs eligible for the program to Trupanion. Each dog will have a tag with a policy number created by Trupanion similar to the ones current policyholders wear. “All [veterans] have to do is show that to their veterinarian and the veterinarian can rest assured Trupanion will pay the bill,” Trupanion’s spokesperson says.
    Veterans who request a service dog and qualify according to a VA evaluation do not pay for the dog or the associated training. For more information on the Veterans Health Administration’s guide and service dog benefits, go to va.gov. Trupanion has a two-year contract with the VA for the U.S. Veteran Service Dog Program. For more information or if you have questions about the program, call Trupanion at (855) 482-0163.
    Service dogs belonging to American military veterans are now covered by comprehensive private health insurance under a new arrangement by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
    A contract between the VA and the company Trupanion provides payment for care by licensed veterinarians of working service and guide dogs that have been approved by the VA as medically necessary for VA-enrolled veterans, according to the agency.
    For now, that amounts to about 400 dogs, VA spokeswoman Genevieve Billia said by email. “The number will fluctuate as new dogs are enrolled, or as the animals die or retire,” Billia said.

    The agreement with the insurer, which took effect January 27th, is known as an “Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity” contract, which means the cost of the contract to the government varies depending on the number of dogs being covered. Billia said the maximum allotted by the government for the contract is $5.6 million over two years. Essentially, the government is paying an insurance premium for each enrolled dog, Trupanion spokeswoman Britta Gidican said.
    The insurance provides 100 percent payment for all wellness and sick care for eligible dogs. Services and products not covered are: elective surgery; non-prescription medications and other over-the-counter items, including flea control; non-prescription food, including dietary supplements and weight-loss diets; non-sedated teeth cleaning; boarding that is not medically necessary; grooming and nail trimming.
    The dogs are eligible as long as they are working. “When the dog reaches an age or condition such that it can no longer provide the services for which it is trained, then the dog is retired from service” and its government-paid coverage is suspended, according to Billia.
    Eligible dogs are given identification tags showing their respective policy numbers, and their owners receive identification cards, as well, Gidican said. Veterinarians seeing a covered patient may be paid immediately by calling the insurance company to obtain a credit-card payment. Gidican said Trupanion is making staff available 24 hours a day every day to provide the service.
    Veterinarians also may opt to install a computer application in order to be paid electronically, or submit bills by email or fax, which typically would be paid within 48 hours, Gidican said.
    The program “empowers and encourages veterinarians to simply do what is absolutely the best for the dog, no matter the cost,” Gidican said. “Veterinarians can always go with Plan A now when treating and caring for veteran-owned service dogs in this program.”
    The program involves no restrictions on pricing, such as is common in health insurance for people. “We do not determine the price of the medical care,” Gidican said “We don’t negotiate it; we don’t have benefit-scheduling.”
    She added: “We really want veterinarians to know this isn’t a joke. Their bills are really being paid by us, promise.”

    Gidican said the company is hopeful no practitioner would attempt to take advantage of the program. “We have to put some things into place to make sure we’re not getting scammed,” she acknowledged. “We’ll work it out. We just haven’t quite thought of that at all.”
    She added, “We are predicting an uptick in veterinary visits simply because all of the services will be paid for now.”
    While private insurance coverage for veterans’ service dogs is new, government-paid medical coverage for the dogs is not. The VA has paid their veterinary bills since 1961, administering the program in-house, agency spokeswoman Billia said.
    Billia, the VA spokeswoman, said the provision of commercial insurance for veterinary care of veterans’ service dogs and guide dogs was written in a federal regulation published in September 2012.
    Billia said the VA recognizes guide dogs for blindness and vision impairments; and service dogs for deafness and mobility disorders. The insurance coverage also extends to dogs acquired through a VA Office of Research contract for participation in a study on the use of service dogs by veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder.
    The agency does not recognize animals other than dogs as service animals. Pets and comfort or companion animals are not eligible for the insurance program, nor are retired military working dogs.
    Trupanion was one of three private insurance companies to compete for the contract, the VA said. The privately held company was founded in Canada in 1999, and expanded to the United States in 2007 with offices in Seattle. Gidicam said the company became licensed to insure in all 50 states in 2012.
    Joyce Edmonson, RN, JD, Patient Care
    Services, (10P4), Veterans Health Administration, Department of
    Veterans Affairs, 810 Vermont Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20420, (410)
    637-4755. (This is not a toll free number.)

  6. The VA hospital is discriminating against service dog owners, because they are not allowing service Dog owners who have PTSD or TBI service dog Insurance through Trupanion, because they have stated that PTSD and TBI are not medical, and that this is a very grey area? So let’s make it black and white? If our service dogs are not a dog that is accredited through ADI assistance Dog International, we have PTSD or TBI, they are telling those service dog owners that they are not eligible for trupanion insurance due to the fact that they must follow ADI accredited schools, there are only 11 accredited schools in the United States of America that will a credit a service dog ADI certified. The Veterans Administration has in their own outdated memorandum dated 1975 when they only allowed Seeing Eye dogs in the VA, stating that they only recognize ADI certification as their guidelines that is discrimination.
    Do you realize how many young Veterans are going to come home, in need of having a service dog help them through life, that will not come from one of the 11 accredited ADI schools? They will not be abler to afford insurance and that may hinder them from trying to get a service dog.
    I have done everything that Trupanion insurance said I have to do, I am a disabled veteran with a service dog and I have done everything the VA said I had to do, only to be denied by the VA because my service dog does not have accredited papers from Assistance Dog International (ADI). Nowhere in Trupanions promise to the Veteran does it say that I have to be accredited to ADI but the VA in its infinite wisdom has a lot of Veterans in a catch 22, telling us that they can pick and choose whose service dog gets insurance? That is discrimination, Please help change this so that any service dog that has been accredited by the ADA regulations is allowed to receive free veterinary care, thank you for your time, Bob Ackley

  7. It seems or at least it sounds like emotional support dogs do not qualify for this insurance. I have a VA doctor papered emotional support dog, and she is losing her ability to walk and really needs to see a vet but there’s no way I can afford it yet I don’t know what I would do without her because I have PTSD and orthostatic intolerance due to a service-connected disability. Service dogs are offered free veterinary care. Emotional support dogs should be at least offered insurance program that offers 50% off it’s really not right. Don’t get me wrong I’m happy for the veterans that do get this for their service dogs, but it seems like the VA is so cut-and-dry about so many different things that is not right and there’s always some veterans getting the short end of the stick. Just wanted to give my feedback.

  8. Tiger Singh SFC retired

    I have a VA card carrying “Emotional Support” dog for combat related PTSD and I am rated 100% permanently disabled. He hurt himself when he was running playing in our back yard the Vet said he needs surgery, would your program cover him?

  9. im a female vet, with service dog that is sick. shes been sick for months. ive spent 100’s of hrs online & phone. IVE FOUND NO HELP. she will die with no help.shes not a carded dog by the VA. i know no women with carded dogs, in cspgs.where CAN I GET HELP ASAP???

  10. I was wondering how we would go about getting coverage for our service dogs?

  11. My son Kevin Rammelsberg belongs to the wounded warrior project. He has a emotional support dog. The dog needs to see a vet for a minor issue. But he can not afford the fee. Can someone help him please and thank you
    Plus can he get help with her food please and thank you
    Thank you sin erly
    Donna Schwartz
    319447 7193

    1054 33rd st be
    cedar Rapids Iowa 52402

    kevin_rammelsberg @icloud.com

  12. Hi Dennis

    I am curious where you get a Card from the VA for your emotional support dog. I’d like to learn more about that. Also, what do you mean does he qualify? Qualify for what.

  13. I have a VA card carrying “Emotional Support” dog for combat PTSD. Does he qualify?
    Thank you

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