The Link Between Medical Marijuana and Your Group Benefits Plan

Medical marijuana has proven, over the years, to be highly effective and beneficial in lowering pain and symptoms in people with specific medical conditions. Now that medical marijuana has been legalized in Canada, more and more people are starting to use it under the guidance of a healthcare practitioner. Here is how medical marijuana can be incorporated into your group benefits plan coverage:

The laws with regard to medical marijuana are constantly changing. And, with ongoing studies, medical marijuana is proving to help many people. The Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR) allows anybody to obtain medical marijuana with the approval and administration from a qualified medical practitioner. The chemicals in marijuana known as THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol), are much lower in medical marijuana and provide more healing qualities rather than the euphoric feeling of recreational marijuana.

Many insurance companies have recognized medical marijuana as a valid form of medication. Employees must purchase their medical marijuana from a Health Canada licensed producer before they may make a claim with their insurance company. If an employee is covered under the Health Spending Account (HSA) and has had approved authorization of medical marijuana, he or she will be reimbursed no matter what the condition is. However, if an employee does not have a Health Spending Account, yet does need the coverage, most insurance companies will recognize the following illnesses and will reimburse the medical marijuana expenses for:

  • Cancer pain as well as the side effects caused by their chemotherapy
  • Neuropathic pain and anorexia caused by HIV/AIDS
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis and pain stemming from failed standard therapy
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Individuals requiring palliative care

Employees must meet the clinical criteria requirements before reimbursement. Not everybody can be reimbursed, that is why it is important to ask your insurance company for a Prior Approval Form for medical marijuana. This will later be assessed and reviewed by your insurance company before any claims can be made.

The use of marijuana does not affect the smoker status when receiving life insurance. This smoking status is determined by tobacco use only. However, it is still an employer’s responsibility to pay close attention that nobody is smoking marijuana or cigarettes in an enclosed area. Employers must also implement a “smoking free” zone within the workplace and must ensure that their employees abide by these rules. Second-hand smoke is very harmful to many people, especially those who do not smoke.

As research and studies go on, more illnesses will be recognized and approved for medical marijuana reimbursement. Do not hesitate to ask us for more information. Contact Bensol today.
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