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Understanding Prescription Food Coverage in Pet Insurance

Pet insurance coverage for prescription food varies significantly across the industry. Some providers offer it with standard coverage, some with specific plans, and others without prescription food coverage. Among the plans that do, there are often rules to determine eligibility. Let’s explore how prescription food coverage works for pet insurance and some of the top plans on the market.

What is prescription food?

Prescription foods, sometimes called prescription diets, therapeutic diets, or veterinary diets, are pet foods specially formulated to support a medical condition. These foods have different nutrient profiles based on the conditions they were created to help manage. For instance, a prescription cat food for kidney disease may be lower in protein, and a prescription dog food for pancreatitis may be lower in fat.

Since these foods have nutrient profiles outside of the standard range, they should only be used for their intended purpose and under the direction and supervision of a veterinarian. Many prescription foods are on the market to support various medical conditions, age-specific nutritional needs, and weight loss. Some foods may require a prescription from your veterinarian, depending on the condition they were made for and where you purchased them.

Does pet insurance cover prescription food?

The short answer is that some pet insurance plans cover prescription food, and some don’t. However, prescription food coverage in pet insurance can be much more complex. It can vary based on the insurance provider, individual plan, and medical condition for which the food is prescribed.

Some providers cover prescription foods under basic coverage or standard plans, while others may only offer it as an add-on or part of a top-tier plan. Some also only cover prescription foods temporarily for certain conditions like urinary tract infections or gastrointestinal problems while excluding coverage for foods prescribed for long-term ailments like allergies or diabetes. Lastly, some pet insurance providers don’t cover any prescription food.

Coverage for prescription food, much like coverage for prescription drugs, can have many variables that determine eligibility and are best determined by looking at your plan.

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Prescription food coverage among top providers

Here’s a look at some of the current prescription food coverage among top providers in the pet insurance market. Like all insurance, this information can be subject to change at any time, and certain states may have different plans or additional stipulations.

Pet insurance provider Prescription food coverageRequirementsExclusions
ASPCA Covered only in the Complete Coverage PlanMust be prescribed by a veterinarian for a covered medical conditionWeight management foods not covered
EmbraceCovered only in the Wellness Rewards Plan — an optional add-on Must be prescribed by a veterinarian for a covered medical conditionOnly covers up to $650 per year
FetchNo prescription food coverageN/AN/A
FigoCovered only in the Extra Care Pack — an optional add-on Must be prescribed by a veterinarian for a covered medical conditionOnly covers up to $250 per year
LemonadeNo prescription food coverageN/AN/A
NationwideCovered in the My Pet Plan and Whole Pet PlanMust be prescribed by a veterinarian for a covered medical conditionWeight management foods not covered
Pets BestNo prescription food coverageN/AN/A
PumpkinIncluded in basic coverageMust be prescribed by a veterinarian for a covered medical conditionWeight management foods not covered
SpotCovered only in the Accident and Illness PlanMust be prescribed by a veterinarian to treat a covered medical conditionWeight management foods not covered
TrupanionIncluded in basic coverageMust be prescribed by a veterinarian for a covered medical conditionOnly covers 50% of the cost of the prescription food and weight management foods not covered

What medical conditions are prescription foods covered for?

Every pet insurance provider may have different rules for what conditions are eligible for prescription food coverage, but in general, the most commonly covered conditions include:

  • Urinary tract issues
  • Kidney/bladder stones
  • Gastrointestinal disorders
  • Post-surgery/hospitalization/critical care
  • Metabolic disorders
  • Renal disease
  • Pancreatitis

Decoding prescription food coverage in pet insurance

Prescription food coverage in pet insurance can seem tricky with so many variables, but like all aspects of coverage, it’s essential to read the fine print. Be sure to familiarize yourself with all parameters of your policy. If your plan simply doesn’t cover prescription foods at all, you’ll have a pretty straightforward answer, but if it does, you’ll want to look at a few key factors to determine eligibility:

  • Was the food prescribed by a veterinarian for a specific medical condition?
  • Is the medical condition covered under your policy?
  • Are there any time limits (how long your pet can be on the prescription food) or spending limits (caps on the total cost of prescription food benefits for the year)?

By answering these three questions, you should have a good idea of whether your pet’s prescription food will be covered, but if it’s still unclear — don’t be afraid to contact your insurance provider. They can walk you through your plan, answer coverage questions, and help with claims. Prescription foods can be lifesaving for some pets but are more costly. If you can get them covered by pet insurance, it’s well worth the time and effort.

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