Pot talk: coverage for medical cannabis is here

April 18, 2018 Suzana Popovic-Montag Estate & Trust, Estate Planning, Health / Medical, In the News, Uncategorized 0 Comments

Unless there’s an unexpected shift or delay by our government, the Cannabis Act will make the use of cannabis for recreational purposes legal sometime this summer. Each province will have a system in place that provides for the sale of the drug.

While “pot for fun” is coming soon, “pot for treatment” is already here, as the use of cannabis for medical purposes is legal under the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR). Today and in the future, individuals can buy or grow medical cannabis when authorized by a doctor or nurse practitioner who is treating them.

What’s changing on the medical cannabis front is that insurance companies are exploring coverage for it under group benefits plans. One major Canadian insurance company – Sun Life Financial – recently added medical cannabis coverage as an option that companies can add to their employee plan. Don’t be surprised if this type of coverage becomes more widespread, as other insurers already offer coverage on a case-by-case basis.

Pain management is one of the principal uses for medical cannabis, and with opioid abuse a growing concern, coverage for medical cannabis could be a timely addition to group benefit plans. Under its new coverage option, Sun Life will reimburse medical cannabis expenses for five specific conditions and symptoms. Those are:

  • Cancer:
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Palliative care situations

As evidence of the therapeutic effect of cannabis for other medical conditions grows, coverage for medical cannabis may also grow to cover a greater range of medical issues. This recent article from the Harvard Medical School provides an overview of the many ways that cannabis is being used to treat a variety of medical conditions.

Thank you for reading,
Suzana Popovic-Montag

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