Payments filed in state Home, Senate would legalize medical marijuana insurance coverage protection

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Medical marijuana, used to deal with all the things from power ache to Parkinson’s Illness to PTSD, continues to be not lined by medical insurance coverage, a value some say is prohibitively costly to those that depend on the drug.

“Hashish is drugs, it’s indeniable,” Dr. Ryan Zacklin, who works within the MassGeneral Brigham community, mentioned at a Beacon Hill listening to. “Treatment, it’s all lined by insurance coverage. There’s no purpose for this to not be.”

A invoice filed by state Rep. David LeBoeuf, D-Worcester, within the Home and Sens. Julian Cyr, D-Truro and Jason Lewis, D-Winchester, would legalize medical health insurance protection for medical marijuana merchandise and associated medical visits.

Zacklin mentioned within the Joint Committee on Monetary Providers listening to that sufferers, who pay an annual payment for the treatment, don’t come to him for marijuana. As an alternative, “they arrive to me for ache, they arrive to me for anxiousness, they arrive to me for insomnia, and this is part of what I do,” he mentioned. He added that price is among the many largest boundaries to remedy he sees in his observe.

One estimate on put Massachusetts’s prices effectively above the nationwide common: an oz. of “medium-quality” bud prices $282 within the Bay State, whereas nationally, that value could be $256.

As a result of hashish continues to be thought-about a Schedule I drug by the Drug Enforcement Administration, and never but FDA permitted, Massachusetts doesn’t permit well being insurers to pay for medical marijuana. The Supreme Judicial Courtroom reaffirmed that call in Massachusetts final yr, as CommonWealth Journal reported.

A spokesperson for the Massachusetts Affiliation of Well being Plans mentioned in a press release that well being insurers cowl one cannabis-derived drug, Epidiolex, a seizure drug. Insurers additionally cowl three artificial cannabis-related drug merchandise which deal with nausea and anorexia: Marinol, Syndros, and Cesamet.

“The FDA performs an vital position in supporting scientific analysis on numerous medication to evaluate their medical efficacy, the suitable dosage, decide the most effective route of administration, and check for doable drug interactions,” MAHP mentioned in a press release. “As a result of medical marijuana is just not but FDA permitted, Massachusetts well being plans don’t supply protection.”

A number of sufferers who depend on medical marijuana for power circumstances testified Tuesday, arguing that the price can stop them from this important remedy.

Jennifer Van, 42, suffers from a number of power circumstances together with ulcerative colitis, anxiousness, PTSD and endometriosis, and likewise survived most cancers. She mentioned she takes at the very least 15 medicines per day, together with two opiates and three managed substances.

“I might substitute at the very least eight of my medicines for medical hashish and do away with them utterly if I might afford it, or if my medical health insurance lined it. Nonetheless, I can’t,” she mentioned. “They may pay for high-dose opiates or managed substances, however they won’t pay for the medical hashish.”

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