Will Insurance Cover Medical Marijuana if Not, Will It Ever?

As more and more people are getting recommendations for medical marijuana, people are starting to wonder on whether their insurance can cover medical marijuana. Well, to the disappointment of everyone, insurance won’t cover medical marijuana. There are so many factors that hinder it from becoming a recognized form of treatment, as well as a legal form of drug. As for possible changes in the future, a lot of factors will still need to be considered.

Why Won’t Insurance Cover It?

To simply answer this question, medical marijuana is not recognized and approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a medicine. This is one of the main reasons why health care professionals can’t prescribe it, they can only recommend it as a form of treatment for patients’ conditions. Under the law, they’re required to only drugs that were approved by the FDA.

Moreover, marijuana or cannabis is still a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act. it’s still vulnerable for abuse, since technically it started out as illegal. The federal government also labels this drug as one that still doesn’t have any medically accepted use, despite being recommended to patients with conditions like epilepsy.

Being a Schedule I drug has its own limitations. Doctors can’t prescribe it and patients have to pay for it using their own money. Other than being a Schedule I drug, medical marijuana just doesn’t have enough backing from clinical reports to confirm its effectiveness on treating patients. Testimonies or anecdotes aren’t enough to convince insurance firms to cover this drug.

It’s ironic to say that not many studies are conducted when the world already has enough means to study it. Researchers don’t want to study marijuana, which is still considered an illegal substance, because getting authorization is a long and expensive process. The process of getting authorization might, itself, be longer than the whole research with all the complications that come with it.

If patients really want to be covered by their insurance firm, they can just simply look for drugs approved by the FDA which contain derivatives from marijuana. There are lots of them in market, though looking for an effective one might be taxing.

Will It Be Covered in the Future?

Sad to say that people shouldn’t be getting their hopes up. Right now, the debate is still ongoing and the chances of getting it covered are still pretty slim. On the federal level, it’s still being highly controlled and remains a controversial topic. For as long as the government still sees it as something not medically useful and prone to abuse, nothing’s going to happen anytime soon.

On the other hand, more and more politicians are getting supportive of the legalization of marijuana. More than just bills submitted to the congress, these people are responsible for the possibilities of it ever getting approved which will then make insurance firms cover it. But there’s still a long way to go for cannabis, despite collective effort from higher ups.

There are other derivatives of marijuana that’s been infused in other products like cannabidiol (CBD). The CBD industry has been pretty creative with their products, from oils to creams. But then again, marijuana is marijuana, there’s no going around it. There might be rumors about FDA approving such products but until those rumors become true, better not get your hopes up.

There are other ways that people can get assistance with the expenses of getting medical marijuana. Like in Ohio, a firm set up a solution to make the weight of paying for marijuana lighter. Payment plans have been introduced to lengthen the time a customer needs to pay for the product.

One of the fastest ways it can get approved is if someone or a group of people do empirical studies and prove that it really is an effective medicine. Those who are willing to go through the taxing process of getting authorization, spending a lot of money, and doing extensive research will be the very people who might just provide the push necessary for its legalization.

Until marijuana moves on from the Schedule I label, the chances insurance firms will cover it are close to nothing. They won’t touch drugs that are considered illegal. One thing’s for sure, everybody’s making a collective effort.

Medical marijuana still remains one of the most controversial forms of treatment available in the market. Not many people believe in its capability to treat patients, but those who do are definitely crying out for means to help them cover the costs. The history surrounding marijuana legal issues are definitely one of the reasons why insurance firms won’t cover it but with everybody making an effort to get it legalized, the step to its legalization is no longer a big one.

Image Credits: Insurance from This Is Me/Shutterstock

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