Does Your Pet’s Health Insurance Cover SARS-CoV-2?
Here are the answers (or lack thereof) from each insurer:
Now that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has confirmed two cases of household cats in New York with SARS-CoV-2 with the reports of a family dog with the virus in North Carolina pending USDA confirmation, The Canine Review has asked the country’s major pet health insurance providers if and how each would cover SARS-CoV-2 diagnostics and treatment for cats and dogs.
If your pet is not showing any symptoms, only ASPCA Pet Insurance and AKC Pet Insurance offer policies that would cover any costs for SARS-CoV-2 testing in the form of optional add-on wellness plans, as the testing would be considered a preventative cost. “Under the terms of the policy,” ASPCA Pet Insurance spokesman Travis Reynolds explained in an email, “if the COVID-19 testing is conducted because the pet is symptomatic, it would be considered treatment for an illness under the Accident and Illness Policy and eligible for coverage,” he added. “If there are no symptoms and the testing is conducted as a preventive measure,” he continued, “then diagnostic testing is considered preventive and eligible for customers that elected our optional Prime Wellness endorsement as part of their $25 Blood Test benefit.”
Neither ASPCA’s Accidents Only plan nor AKC Pet Insurance’s Companion Select plan would cover any costs for treatment or testing for SARS-CoV-2 , even if your dog was showing symptoms.
Some policies contain exclusions for pandemics, but no insurance provider has said it would apply to SARS-CoV-2 . “We have language in our terms and conditions around pandemic exclusions,” Sara Radak of Embrace told The Canine Review in an email, “but that refers to pandemics in pets specifically, which this has not been classified as by the USDA.” Lane Kent, the Executive Vice President of Independence American Insurance Company and President of PetPartners, the company that owns and administers AKC Pet Insurance, explained in a telephone interview, “We have an exclusion for pandemics, but we’re not planning to apply that exclusion.” Kent added, “If the policy would normally cover those things, then, yes, it would be covered.”
The insurance providers which provide treatment and testing for all policy holders — as long as the pet is showing symptoms and the condition is not pre-existing, are Embrace, Trupanion, and PetPlan. “The answer to both of your questions below is a resounding YES!” spokesman for Trupanion Michael Nank said in an email. “Trupanion is here to provide comfort in times of uncertainty. That includes pandemic coverage (both diagnosis and treatment) per the terms of our policy.” Trupanion is the second most popular pet insurance provider in the United States.
Meantime, the situation at Nationwide, which is the country’s top pet health insurance provider, appears to be unsettled. Spokeswoman Karen Davis told The Canine Review that she could not provide an answer because, “there are some reviews and conversations currently in progress.”
We reached out to Healthy Paws’ co-founders Steven Siedek and Rob Jackson, as well as its spokeswoman by phone and email and have not received a response.