If you’re considering trying medical marijuana, or looking for a doctors who prescribe medical marijuana in Ontario, you may be wondering if it’s covered by OHIP.
In this post, we’ll discuss if medical cannabis is covered by provincial health insurance programs or private insurance. We’ll also go over alternative options to save money on your medication.
Does OHIP Cover Medical Marijuana?
The short answer: Medical marijuana appointments with a qualified doctor are covered by OHIP. However, the medical marijuana you are prescribed—and cannabis-related devices such as vaporizers—are not covered by OHIP.
Medical cannabis doesn’t have a DIN (drug identification number) yet. For this reason, it isn’t covered by OHIP and other provincial health insurance programs. However, some exceptions may apply to synthetic marijuana medications, such as Nabilone (Cesamet®).
Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) recognizes medical marijuana and provides coverage. Veterans can be reimbursed for up to 3 grams of medical cannabis per day (or its equivalent value in other medicinal forms). Veterans who are prescribed over 3 grams, can still be covered for up to 10 grams, with approval from a specialist, like the psychiatrists and pain specialists at Apollo.
In addition, patients on the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) may receive coverage for cannabis-related medical devices, such as a vaporizer, and a discount on their medical cannabis called “compassionate pricing”. To receive coverage, a patient should talk to their caseworker and assert that they can only vaporize their medicine. Apollo helps patients with the administrative work involved in getting a vaporizer covered by ODSP.
Is Medical Marijuana Covered By My Work Insurance?
Since medical marijuana doesn’t have a DIN, it isn’t covered by most workplace insurance plans.
Some private insurance plans only cover legal medical marijuana used for specific purposes. For example, Sun Life Financial is the country’s first major insurance company to recognize medical marijuana. However, it only covers patients using the medicine for conditions and symptoms associated with multiple sclerosis, HIV-AIDS, cancer, rheumatoid arthritis and palliative care.
Although most workplace insurance plans do not cover medical marijuana, it’s still worth checking. Since the therapeutic use of cannabis is becoming more widely accepted, if your insurance company doesn’t currently cover your medication, you should call periodically to check for any changes.
It’s worth noting that even if medical cannabis isn’t covered by your health insurer, it may still be more cost-effective than using a synthetic marijuana product with a co-payment insurance plan.
What Are My Other Options?
Many Licensed Producers (LPs) offer what’s called “compassionate pricing.” This means that people who are on government social assistance or who are considered low-income may be eligible for a discount. This discount can be anywhere from 10% to 33%, which can amount to about $0.89 to $3 saved per gram of dried cannabis.
Since these guidelines vary by LP, you may want to ask about compassionate pricing before choosing a provider. An Apollo patient educator can help you choose an LP that is best for your financial needs.
In addition, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) allows patients to file medical marijuana costs as a medical expense when filing income taxes. To qualify, you must have a prescription and receipts from the LP who provides your medicine.
What’s My First Step?
Medical marijuana can help a variety of conditions. If you’re interested in learning how medical marijuana can help your condition, consider Apollo Cannabis Clinics. Apollo’s team is dedicated to ensuring patients have access to affordable medicine and will ensure your personalized treatment plan includes your financial needs.