Does Medicare or Health Insurance Cover Medicinal Cannabis?
The most common question asked about medicinal cannabis has been “is it covered by Medicare, PBS or my Private Health Insurance?”.
Medicare generally covers in-person Cannabis Clinic consultations. PBS does not provide rebates for medicinal cannabis products like CBD or THC oil. A few select Health Funds cover medical cannabis products as a non-PBSprescription.
With the support of the government, cannabis medicines will be added to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).
This will allow for subsidised medicine costs and encourage health funds to support this treatment.
Table of Contents.
What is medical cannabis?
Medicinal cannabis is a new therapeutic medicine that effectively treats various medical conditions; most famous for treating epilepsy, arthritis and cancer-related symptoms.
The most common extracts from the cannabis plant used in medicine are cannabidiol (CBD) and Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
Both have different medicinal effects and doctors usually prescribe a mixture of the two; an example would be 10% THC and 20% CBD in a 50ml oil bottle (remaining 70% is olive oil or hemp seed oil).
Cannabis comes in various forms, including:
- dry cannabis herb (flower or bud)
Your regular GP’s or Cannabis Clinic doctors can prescribe you with medicinal marijuana.
Does the government cover medical cannabis?
Medical cannabis is not listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS), and that generally makes it not applicable for subsidised costs.
Cannabis medicines being listed on the PBS program benefits you by having the cost of medications subsidised. This makes medicine both affordable and more accessible to all Australians.
Medicare does cover rebates for In-person cannabis clinic, and Medicare Rebates cover GP consultations.
Over the phone or online doctor consultations, however, are not covered by Medicare Rebates.
In the near future, we are expecting to see medicinal cannabis products added to the PBS program, and this will see a significant price drop the approved medicines.
Does Private Health Insurance cover cannabis?
Private Health Funds have various levels of cover, and even with the highest level, a lot of patients are out of luck.
The majority of Private Health Insurance companies do not support medicinal cannabis consultations and cannabis medicines.
How do I know if my health insurance covers medicinal cannabis?
When reading through your cover or speaking with your Private Health Fund, check:
- 1) covers medicinal cannabis prescriptions
- 2) covers non-PBS listed prescriptions
- 3) consultations for non-PBS listed prescription
When medicinal cannabis becomes recognised as a “first-line therapy” in Australia, then we will see more Health Funds support the treatment.
Which Health Funds cover medical cannabis?
The current list of health insurance providers that cover non-PBS pharmaceuticals include:
As the terms and conditions often change, check with the insurance provider’s exclusion list to ensure that they have not further excluded medicinal cannabis.
Most medicinal cannabis products are classified as non-PBS pharmaceuticals, and confirming this with your doctor before filling your prescription could save you hundreds!
The steps to claim non-PBS prescriptions are:
- receive the prescription for non-PBS medicinal cannabis products
- order and pay the full amount
- submit the receipt and claim to your health insurance provider
James is an experienced writer and legal cannabis advocate in Australia. He answers all the questions about business, legalisation and medicinal cannabis.
Disclaimer: Cannabis Place are not doctors and we recommend consulting health professionals for accurate information. This site may contain information regarding drugs. This content is designed for an 18+ audience. Click here for our full disclaimerFind out how you are covered for medicinal cannabis products (non-pbs) and doctor consultations for treatment. You may be covered for CBD and THC oil.
Does Health Insurance Cover CBD Oil?
CBD oil, also known as Cannabidiol is a popular natural remedy that can be efficient in a variety of health conditions. This is made of one of the chemicals found in Cannabis sativa, the plant popular under the name of marijuana. It is important to mention that, unlike THC, CBD is not psychoactive so the consumer will not get the “high” effect from it. But there are other benefits associated with CBD consumption. This is why people often wonder if health insurance covers CBD oil.
Benefits of CBD oil
First of all, CBD oil can be a very efficient pain reliever. You can use CBD oil for chronic pain as well as for other types of pain. As a matter of fact, CBD is one of the oldest treatments for different types of pain. The most common types of pain that can be treated with CBD are the ones of arthritis and multiple sclerosis. In some countries, these CBD oil products contain small quantities of THC as well.
Another important benefit of CBD oil is its positive impact on anxiety and even depression. If you suffer from such conditions, your doctor will prescribe you the right CBD oil dosage for anxiety and they will teach you how to administrate it. It is recommended to try out a treatment based on CBD oil rather than the anti-depressants that could impact your well-being with certain side effects.
Among other advantages of CBD oil, you will be glad to find out that it is efficient in treating sleep disruption. If you don’t sleep well or if you suffer from insomnia, a CBD treatment might be all you need. But keep in mind that CBD oil for sleep is not a path that works for everyone. However, it is expected to better the quality of sleep for half and even more than that of those who try it. Your doctor will give you good guidance and if you want to try it, you might be one of the lucky people who benefit from it.
These are only the most relevant benefits of CBD oil but there are many others. Studies also show that it is good for the skin and it can reduce acne. It is efficient in neurological disorders as well. And the scientists keep researching and identifying new benefits every year. However, you should always do your research yourself and ask for the opinion of a specialist before you start such a treatment!
Does health insurance cover CBD oil?
While the benefits of CBD oil are clear to more and more people, the prices of such products are not affordable for everyone. So, you might naturally wonder if your health insurance covers such a CBD treatment.
The short answer to this question is, unfortunately, a negative one. In spite of the fact that doctors themselves admit the benefits of CBD oil and recommend it to their patients, health insurance doesn’t cover its cost. No health insurance providers in the United States or anywhere else in the world will reduce the cost of CBD oil or medicinal marijuana use. Patients are still allowed and even encouraged to follow these treatments if they see positive results. But they will need to cover the entire price and at times, they will also need a medical prescription to purchase them. We say at times because there are some products that contain CBD oil, even if in a much smaller quantity and they are sold without prescription. However, the effects of these products are also very low and in most cases, they don’t improve the life of the patient as much as CBD oil itself.
FDA is paying a lot more attention to chemical remedies for different diseases and they don’t bother to regulate natural remedies such as CBD oil. Without saying that CBD oil is not efficient, they simply don’t choose to encourage health companies to cover its price or at least part of it. Because the FDA doesn’t regulate or even approve CBD oil, no health insurance will cover it either.
Another reason is the fact that CBD can be found in both hemp and marijuana. While hemp is legal everywhere, marijuana is considered a Schedule 1 type of substance. Schedule 1 substances are highly controlled by the legislation and this perception of CBD oil is a big obstacle.
What are the alternatives for patients
In these circumstances, patients that need to follow a CBD oil treatment will need to cover its entire cost by themselves, with no help from the health insurance system. Even if they obtain a medical prescription regarding their treatment, the cost will not be reduced.
Unfortunately, the market also has a lot of fake CBD oil products. The real ones, with a high concentration of CBD oil could get to be over $100 for one bottle. The ones that are cheaper tend to also be less efficient and more diluted with other ingredients. So, critical research is essential when purchasing a CBD oil product.
The future might still hold certain improvements in this area though. More studies will be implemented and more evidence of the CBD oil benefits will rise. If the development goes down this path, eventually, there is hope for health insurance companies to cover part of the cost of CBD oil products.
If you need a CBD oil treatment, you should do your best to choose a quality product in order to enjoy all its benefits. The fact that there is no health insurance to cover such products is nevertheless a problem that should be constantly addressed in the near future. But the fact that we continue to see the advantages of CBD oil for a wide range of patients gives us hope for better regulations. If you are not sure what CBD oil to invest in or how much you should take of it, consult your doctor and stay as informed as possible.CBD oil, also known as Cannabidiol is a popular natural remedy that can be efficient in a variety of health conditions. This is made of one of the chemicals found in Cannabis sativa, the plant popular under the name of marijuana. It is important to mention that, unlike THC, CBD… ]]>