Health Canada Urged to Clear Way for Medical Pot Insurance

Article by Andrea Huncar, CBC News

Medical marijuana advocates in Alberta say Ottawa needs to expedite safety approvals that would allow insurance companies to provide coverage for costly prescriptions. High costs currently push many patients to seek alternative options through illegal avenues

Conventional pills did little to ease Jill Grindle’s PTSD and sleep disorder, but within months of turning to medical marijuana the Calgary mother says she was sleeping through the night.

Now she has another worry.

“It’s costing a pretty penny,” she said. “So what I do is I under-medicate greatly. I scrimp and I save and I only use it very sparingly.”

Like most Canadians, Grindle’s standard insurance plan doesn’t cover legally prescribed cannabis. For Grindle that adds up to $1,200 a month if she were to use her full four-gram daily allowance, so she gets by on one gram a day.

As the federal government prepares to legalize recreational marijuana by July 2018, Grindle is among the advocates calling on Health Canada  to clear the way for coverage of legally-prescribed pot.

With the exception of limited coverage for veterans and patients with health care spending accounts, the standard insurance of most Canadians doesn’t reimburse the cost of medical cannabis.

Kait Shane, director of community outreach with Calgary-based Natural Health Services, describes it as the “missing link,” noting Canadians can claim cannabis on their their tax returns and travel with it on federal flights.

Read full article here.

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