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Does Medicare Cover Service Animals?

Are you curious about what Medicare plans may or may not cover? Call our licensed agents today at (800) 950-0608 to see what benefits are available through Medicare plans in your area.

Just the Essentials...

  • Medicare plans will not cover the cost of purchasing a service animal.

  • Many nonprofit organizations can help you obtain a service animal free of charge or at reduced cost.

  • Some Medicare Advantage plans may help you pay for the necessities of taking care of a service animal.

  • Medicare Advantage coverage for service animal necessities is very rare.

Service Animals Can Be a Major Help to Those With Disabilities

If you suffer from certain illnesses or disabilities, a service animal can be a major help to you in many ways. Service animals can:

  • Serve as guiding eyes for individuals dealing with vision issues
  • Alert others to help when their owner is having a seizure
  • Recognize and alert owners and others nearby when the owner is showing signs of high or low blood sugar
  • Serve as a comforting companion for those with cognitive or developmental disabilities

Knowing just how helpful a service animal can be begs the question, “Does Medicare cover service animals?” Let’s take a look at what Medicare may or may not cover in regards to purchasing a service animal, as well as taking care of one.

Medicare Will Not Cover the Purchase of a Service Animal

So, does Medicare cover service dogs? Can you use your coverage for the purchase of a Medicare support dog or an emotional support animal? Sadly, the answer is no. Your Medicare plan will not cover the purchase of a support animal. Neither will a Part C Medicare Advantage plan if you have one.

You may ask, then, “Are service animals covered by insurance?” This could include Medicaid or any private insurance plan. Unfortunately, no known insurance plans at this time cover the purchase of service animals or an emotional support animal.

Certain Medicare Advantage Plans Will Cover Purchases of Necessities for Service Animals

While Medicare Advantage plans will not cover the cost of purchasing a support animal, some of them may be able to help in other ways. There are a select few Medicare Advantage plans that cover the expenses of necessities for your service dog. 

It must be mentioned, though, that this type of coverage is very rare and can be hard to find. However, by using our free comparison tool, you may be able to find a plan near you that will help you cover the necessities for a support animal.

How Much Does it Cost to Purchase a Service Animal?

Due to the specialized role a service animal will play in the life of its owner, the price tag for purchasing one is incredibly high. The National Service Animal Registry places the average cost of buying a service animal at around $20,000. The typical range is $15,000 to $30,000, depending on the tasks and responsibilities that the animal can handle. In some instances, purchasing a service dog may set you back $40,000 to $50,000

If you already have a dog, and you want to train them to be a service dog or an emotional support animal, the prices are equally steep. It can cost $150 to $250 per hour for a trainer to train your dog to become a service dog. In some instances, the training may cost more depending on what kinds of services you’ll need your dog to learn.

Another cost to consider when purchasing a service animal is the cost of taking care of your animal. Some of the factors you’ll need to consider regarding your service animal’s care include:

  • Food
  • Veterinary Care
  • Medications
  • Care supplies

The costs combined for each of the factors listed above comes out to about $1,100 per year. This estimate goes by the list of costs below, all depending on providers and sources:

  • Pet food – around $400 per year
  • Veterinary care – around $260 per year
  • Medications – around $300 per year
  • Supplies – around $100 per year

Can I Get Any Help at All With Purchasing a Service Animal?

While Medicare or other insurance plans will not cover the cost of purchasing a service animal, there are organizations out there that can help. Numerous nonprofit organizations across the country raise, train, and offer service animals to the disabled free of charge or at reduced cost.

Some of the organizations that may be able to help you get a service animal include:

Not all organizations will provide you with a service animal, but there are some who offer grants that can help you purchase a service dog.

It is important to note that getting a service animal from these organizations, or other similar organizations, will take some time. Many of these programs have long waiting lists filled with individuals who are in need of a service animal. If you have an immediate need for a support animal, it may be a good idea to reach out to smaller local nonprofits in your area. While they may have long waiting lists as well, it may be easier – and faster – to get assistance through a local organization than it could be to get a service animal through a larger national organization.

Don’t Give Up Hope - Medicare Coverage is Always Changing

Does Medicare cover service animals? Does Medicare cover service dogs? Not at the moment, but it’s important to remember that Medicare coverage is always changing and evolving. While service animals or emotional support animals are not covered at this time, Medicare and private insurance plans, such as Medicare Advantage, may choose to cover the purchase of a support animal in the future.

In the meantime, if you need a service animal but don’t have the funds to purchase one, look into national, regional, and local nonprofit organizations that may be able to help you obtain one. Also, if you are able to obtain a service animal, be sure to look for and compare Medicare Advantage and Medigap supplemental plans that may offer funds for service animal necessities. 

We can help you get started: just enter your zip code into our free plan finder below to begin researching and comparing Medicare plans in your area today.

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