Winds of Change: Coverage for Medical Marijuana
Medical marijuana is NOT currently eligible for coverage under traditional Health Care benefit plans as it does not have a Drug Identification Number (DIN).
Health Canada will need to issue DIN numbers to it before insurance providers can start to determine eligibility.
For now, medical marijuana claim expenses can only be paid through Cost Plus (MRP) or Health Spending Accounts (HSA).
As we are lead to understand the process, in order to make a claim for medical marijuana, the receipt and prescription have to be submitted in the patient’s name, as dispensed through a recognized, licensed dispensary.
In recent news … The Human Rights Board in Nova Scotia ruled that a company was discriminating against an employee by not providing coverage for his medical marijuana and ordered that it be covered.
The decision was specific to this particular individual and case and there are no planned changes to GWL’s position with respect to coverage of medical marijuana under their drug plans. Their standard response to inquiries on medical marijuana coverage remains as follows:
“The medical marijuana environment continues to evolve and Great-West Life is actively monitoring developments in this area. Health Canada continues to maintain their position that marijuana is not an approved drug and has not granted a drug identification number (DIN). Given the Health Canada position, as well as other regulatory and distribution challenges, Great-West Life does not consider expenses for medical marijuana as eligible under any of the current drug plans.
Alternatively, the Canada Revenue Agency deems expenses for medical marijuana as eligible under the Medical Expense Tax Credit meaning that those expenses could be considered eligible under a Health Care Spending Account.”
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