May 2011: Insurance & Medical Cannabis

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While your state may recognize your right to use medical cannabis, your insurance company most likely wants to steer clear of the issue. Your insurance carrier will not cover medical cannabis, and asking them to cover it or reimburse you for your expenditures may lead to trouble.

If your health or life insurance companies find out that you use medical cannabis, you may have trouble getting coverage in the future. ASA has heard from many patients who have had medical claims denied, simply because they had used medical cannabis in the past. In addition, ASA has heard from many patients who have been denied insurance coverage because of their past status as a medical cannabis patient.

It is important to stay within the law and have a recommendation from a physician. It is also against the law to hide medical information from your insurance provider. The best way to navigate this sticky situation is to only give the insurance company the information they specifically ask for. Do not volunteer information about your medical cannabis use, and do not ask them to cover your medicine or to reimburse you for expenditures related to your medical cannabis. If they ask you if you use “illegal drugs” it is NOT a lie to say no. Medical cannabis is NOT an illegal drug, it is a medication that your physician recommended and your state provides legal protection for. If the insurance company does not ask you specifically about medical cannabis, do not volunteer that you are a patient, as they may use this information against you in the future.

If you have already run into trouble with your carrier, please let ASA know so that we can help. In addition, if you’ve had a good experience with an insurance provider, please let us know so that we can provide this information to other patients. Please call our legal hotline at 510/251-1856 or email legalsupport@safeaccessnow.org

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