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You've Been Prescribed Medical Marijuana. So How Do You Pay For It?

Even though medical marijuana is legal and federally regulated in Canada, most insurance plans won't provide coverage for it. It's not an approved drug in Canada as far as insurance is concerned, and it doesn't have a Drug Identification Number (DIN). That lack of approval from the medical community provides barriers to gaining coverage.

However, there have been examples of group insurance carriers granting exceptions if the employer requests it on behalf of their employee.

Of course, this means you need to be transparent with your employer about your use of medical cannabis if you want their help to get coverage. Your employer has the duty to accommodate medical marijuana prescriptions although they are probably inexperienced with this topic in their workplace.

The most recent example in Canada surrounded a student, Jonathan Zaid, who received coverage for his medical marijuana through Sun Life. The student union who administers the plan on behalf of the student body requested the exception after reviewing compelling evidence put forward by Zaid. He received coverage for his medical marijuana and a vaporizer.

Veterans received coverage for cannabis use

There is one group that is covered today: military veterans. Veterans Affairs Canada provides funding for medical marijuana with a doctor's prescription. So if you are a veteran, you may be eligible for coverage for some of your prescription.

For now, if you're looking for coverage from your insurance plan you will likely need the organization or employer who administers the plan to make a request. Even in this case, it is uncertain whether the request will be approved. Make sure to check with your insurance company either way so you have the facts.

Many licensed producers (LPs) offer compassionate pricing and this may be the best way to reduce costs in the short term.

Remember, medical marijuana is approved by the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) as a medical expense, so you can claim it on your personal tax return.

As with everything in the medical marijuana industry, change is likely to occur. Experts predict that insurance companies will slowly start to participate in medical marijuana coverage.


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