Does Insurance Pay For Medical Marijuana? Will it ever?

The news was spread around the U.S. and now there are thousands of people wanting to get a medical marijuana treatment. But obviously, there’s a big question mark when it comes to “does insurance pay for my medical marijuana treatment?” Of course, there are lots of people worried about that.

Without further delays, let’s go straight to the big question. No, your health insurance does not cover your medical marijuana treatment. So, all these people out there with epilepsy, cancer, multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, PTSD, and others have all to pay for their medical treatment.

Which leads us to another question, why doesn’t your insurance pay for your medical marijuana? There are many reasons why they don’t and mustn’t pay for your cannabis treatment.

First of all, depending on your health insurance, the things goes approximately like this: you pay your insurance, you go to a physician that recommends to you a certain treatment and then the insurance pays for this treatment, isn’t that so? Unfortunately, with marijuana, it is not like this, even though in most of the states you need a physician recommendation to get access to cannabis.

The reason why your insurance doesn’t cover your medical marijuana treatment is actually quite simple. Although medical cannabis has been approved in more than 30 U.S. states, which makes about 70% percent of the U.S. population having access to marijuana, the drug still remains illegal on the federal level.

Besides that, marijuana medicines are not FDA-approved drug. So, it is both illegal and has no ‘medical’ value since they are not actual medicines, but products. It is all up to the U.S. government and the pharmacy industry to create a medicine that’s FDA-approved. No health insurance is allowed to cover for a treatment that is not FDA-approved.

The public relations manager at Humana Marvin Hill Jr., a big health insurance firm, said in an email to VICE that “As of right now, there is no FDA-approved marijuana product, and we, therefore, do not currently offer a prescription drug benefit for medical marijuana. If there were to be an FDA-approved medical marijuana product in the future, it may be covered depending upon the terms of the individual member’s drug coverage.”

So, the problem of having marijuana paid by the health insurances depends on much more than if the companies are willing to pay for it. As for marijuana being legalized in federal law, this doesn’t look like it is going to happen just yet. Until we actually put two and two together, this whole health insurance thing will not move forward.

“It’s an unfortunate and less-discussed aspect of the way that we’re rolling out medical cannabis in the US,” said Bob Morgan, an attorney specialized in cannabis law and health insurance. “People that don’t have the resources to pay $200 [to] $500 a month are missing out on access to medication that really could help reduce their pain and suffering…it’s a barrier to access.”

What you can expect for the next few years is probably an advance of CBD-based medications. Cannabidiol is a marijuana compound that contains many of the herb’s medicinal effects, but it lacks the psychoactive effects. Additionally, this compound can be easily found and bought online throughout the U.S. if you go by the rules.

Recently, the FDA approved Epidiolex as a treatment option for people with epilepsy. Epidiolex is CBD-based and it can be used to treat two of the rarest forms of epilepsy.

Besides Epidiolex, there are other medications which are marijuana-based. However, they are synthetic forms of cannabis, and people often claim that has barely any effects. Not to mention it increases the risk of having anxiety and depression.

Until marijuana is approved by the FDA and it becomes legal under federal law, the health insurance will not be able to cover for your medical marijuana treatment. What’s left for us now is just to wait and hope that it doesn’t take to long for it to happen.

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