Service dogs are a massive help to many people who are suffering from different conditions and disabilities. Both physical and mental. We often see them guide blind people, but they are so much more than that.
For those who have Medicare, a common question is “does Medicare cover service dogs?” In this article, we answer that question in clear, plain English. You will also find the average costs of service dogs, as well as other helpful info.
Does Medicare Cover Service Dogs?
The short answer is no. In most cases, Medicare will not cover the cost of a service dog. That said, there may be some situations where you can get these costs covered. Below we’ll take a closer at this to see when you might be able to get Medicare to pay for your service dogs.
Original Medicare (Medicare Part A and Part B) does not provide coverage for service dogs. Medicare Advantage plans (Medicare Part C) do not cover the cost of a service dog either.
However, Medicare Part C may cover expenses for service dog necessities. While Medicare Advantage coverage for service dog necessities is very rare, you can find it. One example is Anthem’s Medicare Advantage plan. That plan offers $500 to pay for service dog necessities like food, vests, and leashes.
While Medicare won’t cover the cost of a service dog, there are other options. For example, organizations like Assistance Dogs International and Service Dogs for America have some grants available. This can help those with disabilities get a service dog for free or very little cost.
How Much Do Service Dogs Cost?
According to the National Service Animal Registry, the average cost of buying a service dog is around $20,000. This ranges from $10,000 to $30,000, depending on the tasks and responsibilities that the dog can handle. Some service dog fees, however, can be as expensive as $50,000.
According to Service Dog Certifications, hiring a professional to train your dog to be your service dog may cost $150 to $250 per hour.
Another expense to be considered when owning a service dog is food, veterinary care, medications, and supplies. Dog food can cost about $400 a year. Veterinary care usually costs $260 annually, but the price still varies on the provider. Medications for heartworm, ticks, fleas, etc., may cost $300 a year. Supplies like collars, leashes, vests, and even toys may cost $100 a year.
About Service Dogs
Service dogs are dogs that help people suffering from different conditions and disabilities. Unlike regular dogs or pets, service dogs are trained to help their handlers with their daily lives.
There are many things service dogs can do, and it varies on their training. Depending on the training that they underwent, service dogs have different roles, including:
- Guide Dogs which help the visually impaired people
- Signal dogs help people who have a hearing impairment
- Seizure response dogs who are trained to detect seizures before they happen
- Sensory signal dogs who help people with autism
- Psychiatric service dogs who usually aid those who are suffering from PTSD
Note: Medicare coverage changes all the time. And your specific coverage may vary from plan to plan for Medicare Advantage and Medigap plans. Always be sure to double check with your health care provider and/or Medicare insurance provider about what your plan covers and what it does not.
Additional Info on Medicare Coverage
This article is part of our series on “What does Medicare cover?”
Also, you can check out other articles in this series including: Does Medicare cover prosthetic eyes?