Friday September 1, 2017

Medicinal Marijuana Expense Health Insurance Coverage and Personal Injury Claims

Authored by: David S.R. Parker Posted in: Personal Injury

Prescriptions for medicinal marijuana are becoming more common, particularly for chronic pain patients. There is rising concern among physicians regarding opioid addiction, and some are now prescribing medicinal marijuana as an alternative pain treatment. Though there is no consensus among medical experts on the issue of the efficacy of cannabis as a pain treatment, there is a judicial trend that recognizes that some patients with chronic pain obtain significant benefit from the use of medical cannabis.

The cost of medicinal marijuana can be significant compared to the alternative opioid pain medications.  Health Canada has stipulated a maximum daily dosage of 5 grams/day.  The cost per gram charged by licensed growers varies by manufacturer, strain, and blend – but the average cost is in the range of $8.40.  This represents a cost of about $1,260 per month, compared to the cost of opioids such as hydromorphone, which costs approximately $120-$140 per month.  For a claimant with permanent chronic pain who is prescribed medicinal marijuana for pain treatment, the costs can amount to $15,000 per year or more, and over a lifetime (for instance a 50-year life expectancy) can amount to more than $400,000 (present value).   

Health Care and Auto Insurers (responding to Section B Medical Expense Claims and Personal Injury Claims for Future Medical Care Costs) are reluctant to accept claims related to medicinal marijuana prescriptions and use several different arguments in the attempt to avoid or reduce payment of such claims. 

Recent court cases reflect the positions taken by insurers and the arguments raised to defeat claims for marijuana prescription costs. The following are some of the arguments brought forward, and recommendations that may aid in raising your chance of success in establishing a valid claim under Section B in the health care policy:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whether a claimant will be successful in advancing a claim for the cost of medical marijuana is a complicated issue and requires the proper medical evidence, consideration of the above issues and factual evidence.

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