There is good news, though. If you suffer from certain severe health conditions, your cannabis-based medication may qualify for Medicaid coverage. Medicare does not cover CBD oil, but as research continues, that could eventually change. Are you a medicaid patient and thinking about using CBD oil? Read this article to understand what are your options.
Will Medicaid Pay for a Medical Marijuana Card?
Medical cannabis is becoming a vital part of the health care system. In the thirty-five states where medical marijuana is legal, (including Puerto Rico and Washington DC), over 4 million patients currently hold a medical marijuana card.
There’s a lot of demand for medical cannabis and its benefits these days. So, you may be surprised that insurance won’t cover your medical marijuana card. Original Medicare, Medicare Advantage, and state Medicaid plans have yet to come out with a medical card program.
There is good news, though. If you suffer from certain severe health conditions, your cannabis-based medication may qualify for Medicaid coverage. However, you must first choose to add on an optional prescription drug plan.
What are these cannabis treatments Medicaid will pay for, and why exactly won’t Medicaid and Medicare reimburse you for your medical cannabis card? We’re telling you the answer to these questions and more below.
What’s Considered Medical Marijuana?
Medical marijuana is also known as medical cannabis. Patients who hold a medical marijuana card can legally use cannabinoids like THC and CBD. This only applies when patients use cannabis to treat qualifying health conditions, including:
- Symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS)
- Inflammation and pain
- Loss of appetite and nausea
Depending on where you live, your state may allow medical marijuana use for additional conditions. Also, some states have extremely short lists of conditions that qualify patients for a medical marijuana card.
Is Medical Marijuana Legal?
In multiple states across the US, medical marijuana is completely legal. Check your state laws to find out if medical cannabis is legal in your state. Be sure to investigate your state’s list of qualifying conditions for a medical marijuana card.
The Benefits of Medical Cannabis
In a 2019 review of systematic reviews, researchers looked into the benefits of using medical marijuana. The most common reason patients used medical cannabis was for pain. This included MS pain, pain after an injury, and cancer pain.
Movement disturbances, such as those common to Parkinson’s, were the second-most common reason people turned to medical marijuana. This includes the movement disturbances that are symptomatic of MS.
Nausea and vomiting were the final most common reasons the researchers found for getting a medical marijuana card.
Drawbacks to Using Medical Marijuana
Like most medications, cannabis use (medical or otherwise) can come with a few side effects. These side effects are generally mild in nature.
For example, the 2019 review above found that drowsiness and dizziness is a common side effect. 50% of the systematic reviews cited this as a minor side effect.
Why Medicaid Won’t Cover Your Medical Marijuana Card
Because Medicare and Medicaid are federal programs, and cannabis is still illegal under federal law, these programs won’t pay for your medical marijuana card. Under Medicaid, you have to opt-in to prescription drug benefits anyway.
If you do add on prescription drug coverage, there are special circumstances in which cannabis treatments are covered. We’ll talk more about that below, but keep in mind that even adding on prescription drug coverage won’t cover a medical marijuana card.
Medicaid Benefits Explained
States are required by law to provide Medicaid plans to low income individuals. These health care packages have a list of mandatory benefits plans in all states must offer. Among others, Medicaid mandatory benefits include:
- Inpatient and outpatient services
- Home health services
- Physician visits
- Lab and x-ray services
- Family planning services
Many states also offer optional benefits you can add to your Medicaid plan. This includes services like physical and occupational therapy, podiatry, optometry, and dental.
Importantly, you can also get Medicaid coverage for prescriptions. This includes any marijuana-related medication that the FDA has approved.
Cannabis Treatments Medicaid Will Cover
By now you might be wondering if there’s anything cannabis-related Medicare does cover. The answer is yes! There are currently two FDA-approved medications that are federally legal.
That means you can get the following two treatments if you add prescription drug coverage to your plan.
Dronabinol is known by its brand names Marinol and Syndros. This medication helps treat nausea and vomiting. The FDA has approved dronabinol for two patient populations: people with AIDS and people undergoing treatments for cancer.
AIDS and cancer treatments cause weight loss as a side effect. dronabinol is approved to help stimulate appetite and reduce a phenomenon called wasting.
The ironic thing about this medication is that it doesn’t actually contain cannabinoids. Instead, dronabinol is made up of synthetic THC. This is why dronabinol has been legal in the US since the 1970s.
Are you suffering from AIDS wasting or nausea and vomiting from cancer treatments? If so, you’ll likely qualify for Medicaid coverage for your dronabinol prescription.
The FDA approved the US’s first-ever non-synthetic cannabis treatment, Epidiolex, in 2018. This prescription helps prevent seizures. It has also been especially effective against childhood epilepsy and treatment-resistant epileptic seizures.
If you have epilepsy and your physician think Epidiolex can help, your prescription will likely qualify for coverage under Medicaid.
How to Get Your Medical Marijuana Card
Medical marijuana cards aren’t covered under Medicaid plans just yet. This is because cannabis is still federally illegal, and the FDA hasn’t approved it for medical use.
If you suffer from AIDS, epilepsy, or are undergoing cancer treatments, Medicaid may cover your Dronabinol or Epidiolex prescription.
Still interested in getting a medical marijuana card even though it isn’t covered under Medicaid? You’ve come to the right place. Book your in-person or virtual appointment with our medical marijuana card doctors now at Green Health Docs.
Why Medicare Still Doesn’t Cover CBD Oil, And How That May Change
Cannabidiol (CBD) is now decidedly mainstream. In fact, CBD-based products have flooded the shelves of many pharmacies and grocery stores in various states. But what about CBD and Medicare? Medicare doesn’t cover CBD, despite its growing popularity.
Who Uses CBD Oil, and What Can it Treat?
A 2019 Gallup poll found that 14% of Americans report using CBD products such as chocolates, oils, fragrances, bath products, capsules, and lotions.
Despite limited research on the benefits of CBD, CBD proponents and manufacturers claim it can treat everything from cancer to anxiety. 40% of CBD users say they seek relief from pain. Other popular uses include anxiety (20%), insomnia (11%) and arthritis (8%). These conditions are notoriously difficult to treat. Traditional prescription drugs may cause unpleasant side effects, and do not offer relief to all sufferers. So the promise of a natural substance offering relief for these symptoms is very appealing.
CBD does have one clear, proven benefit. It can treat seizures associated with two types of epilepsy—Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. In 2018, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a CBD-based drug, Epidiolex, for the treatment of these severe, rare forms of epilepsy.
Why Doesn’t Medicare Cover CBD?
Original Medicare (Parts A and B) only covers treatment received in a medical facility such as a hospital or doctor’s office. Part B covers a very limited number of prescription drugs, and CBD medications are not on that list.
Medicare beneficiaries have the option to purchase a Part D prescription drug plan in order to expand their drug coverage. They may also opt for private insurance through a Medicare Advantage (Medicare part C) plan, many of which cover prescription drugs.
However, even with a prescription drug plan, you cannot get coverage for CBD oil and other over-the-counter products. There are at least two reasons for this:
- There are no drug products containing CBD, other than Epidiolex, that are approved by the FDA.
- According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Part D plans only cover drugs that have been approved by the FDA.
If you have a prescription for Epidiolex and your Medicare Part D or Medicare Advantage plan covers the drug, then you can use Medicare to access this one medication containing CBD. However, a recommendation from a doctor that you try over-the-counter CBD oil is not sufficient for using Medicare to pay for any other product containing CBD.
Will Medicare Cover CBD Oil in the Future?
With so many potential uses of CBD, research is ongoing. If scientifically-rigorous evidence finds support for other CBD uses, manufacturers could develop CBD-based drugs for many conditions.
If these future drugs receive FDA approval, they could also become medically-recognized prescriptions. That would open the door to Medicare coverage. No such drug approvals are on the immediate horizon, althoughsearch leaves open the possibility that Medicare may eventually cover other prescription forms of CBD.
Will medicaid pay for cbd oil?
If you pay attention to developments in the health and wellness space, you already know that CBD oil has been a popular topic in recent years. This product seems to be gaining significantly in popularity, but many people still don’t know what it is or what it may do. With this article, we’d like to clear up some of the confusion that you may have surrounding this topic, and also help you understand how Medicaid deals with CBD oil.
The Right Side of the Law
It’s important to note early in the article that you need to check the legality of any product you hope to buy and use. This point can be a little confusing, because the rules change from state to state – and state rules don’t always line up with federal regulations. Additionally, there can be differences between hemp-based and marijuana-based products, so it’s important to pay attention to the details. Stay on the right side of the law with regard to these products so you don’t run into any unwanted issues.
What is CDB oil?
This is the natural place to get started. What is this stuff, anyway? If you first associate CBD oil with marijuana when you hear it brought up by friends or family members, you aren’t far off – but this isn’t the same thing as marijuana. Rather, to make CDB oil, the chemical compound cannabidiol is extracted from the cannabis plant. That compound is then diluted with an oil before it is sold.
One of the key differences between marijuana and CBD oil is the fact that CBD oil does not have the psychoactive effects that are delivered by marijuana. In other words, there is no high associated with using this kind of product. Individuals use it in an effort to treat a long list of medical conditions, but it is not used as a means of achieving a high. With that in mind, CBD oil is legal for use in far more places than marijuana (although more and more states are legalizing marijuana in recent years).
Regular marijuana has been used for years as a pain relief option, with it often being legal for medicinal use even in places where it is illegal recreationally. However, those who chose to use it for pain management would still incur the high that comes along with marijuana use, whether they wanted that high or not. By taking that out of the equation, it’s possible to reap some of the benefits of this compound’s pain-relieving effects without having to deal with psychoactive implications. For some, this will be a big selling point, and it will make CBD oil an appealing alternative treatment.
What are the Medical Benefits of CBD Oil?
Before we get into this section, we need to make one thing clear from the start – the medical benefits of using CBD oil are still very much debated. Some people swear by its abilities, while others are dubious that it offers little more than a placebo effect. There simply is not enough scientific data behind the use of this product to confirm its abilities one way or the other. As you work on deciding whether or not this product is a good option for your needs, you’ll want to do your own research and educate yourself even further on the topic.
So, with that said, CBD oil is often used to address pain associated with various conditions. It can be difficult to live with persistent pain day after day, so those in chronic pain will look to a variety of solutions to solve their problem. If CBD oil has the potential to help reduce your pain, it is at least worth a closer look. The oil has the potential to manage pain by altering something called endocannabinoid receptor activity within your body. By reducing inflammation, you might be able to cut down on your level of pain through this simple treatment.
One possible category of people who could benefit from CBD oil is those with arthritis. As anyone with arthritis already knows, this is a painful condition that can significantly pull down your overall quality of life – and may even stop you from doing certain activities altogether.
The potential benefits of CBD oil go well beyond pain management. There are other issues that you can attempt to treat with this product, such as anxiety, symptoms that result from cancer treatment, and even acne. Again, the actual efficacy of CBD oil when dealing with these conditions is up for debate and not proven, but there has been some indication that it might have a positive effect for some individuals.
Potential Side Effects of CBD Oil Use
With regard to side effects, there is some good news – most CBD oil users don’t experience notable side effects. Everything you put into your body comes with the potential of some side effects, but for the most part, the risk of significant side effects is pretty low when using CBD oil.
That said, you do want to know what is possible so you can pay attention to your body and keep yourself healthy. After all, if any side effects rise to a significant level, you’ll need to discontinue use of the CBD oil and reconsider your plan. So, what kinds of things can you experience if you start taking CBD oil regularly? Check out the following points –
· Drowsiness – As with many other kinds of treatments, it’s possible that using CBD oil will make you drowsy, at least to some degree. With that in mind, don’t use this product in any situation where becoming drowsy later would be a problem.
· Lightheadedness – If you begin to feel lightheaded after using CBD oil, you may be experiencing a side effect of the treatment. Monitor this condition to be sure it doesn’t go too far and put you in a dangerous situation.
· Dry mouth – While not particularly dangerous in most cases, having a dry mouth can be uncomfortable and may lead you to reconsider your use of CBD oil.
· Low blood pressure – Obviously, anything impacting your blood pressure should be taken very seriously, so this is not a side effect to overlook.
· Gastrointestinal issues – Another possible problem to be encountered is problems with your stomach, such as stomach aches or diarrhea.
Significant side effects of using CBD oil may go far enough to no longer make it worth what you might gain. In other words, the problems you are solving with the CBD oil might not be as significant as the ones you are creating. So, always pay close attention to any side effects that pop up and weigh them against the issues that you are attempting to treat.
Be Aware of Drug Interactions
Anytime you introduce something new to your body, you need to be sure and consider how it might interact with other substances that you ingest regularly. In other words, you don’t want to start using CBD oil only to find that it has a negative impact on other medications that you use to manage your health. As you might imagine, the potential interactions between CBD oil and other drugs are complicated to say the least, so this is a topic to give careful consideration if you have ongoing prescriptions.
The best thing you can do here is simply to talk to your doctor. Your health care professional is the best person to provide insight on what you can take safely, and what should be avoided. Your doctor will not only know what medicines you are taking currently, but also how much of those drugs you are taking, and how long you will be taking them for. It might be that you simply can’t use CBD oil as long as you are taking certain drugs, or it might be that you can start using CBD oil as long as your doctor monitors your health and makes adjustments as necessary moving forward.
CBD Oil and Medicaid
When considering CBD oil, the first thing you are going to think about is the potential benefits of its use. And, you’ll have to think of other key points, such as legality in your area and the potential interactions with other drugs you need to take. If you manage to check off all of those points, however, you will eventually get to another key issue – the cost. While CBD oil is not as expensive as some other treatment options you may explore, it certainly isn’t free. For those on a tight budget, it might not be possible to purchase the CBD oil needed to begin treatment.
At the point you realize that the purchase of CBD oil may be cost prohibitive for you, the thought of having Medicaid pay for your CBD oil may come into your mind. After all, Medicaid pays for a long list of different health care treatments, so would it be possible to have your benefits pay for this, as well? Unfortunately, the answer is going to be no in most cases.
The issue at play here is the fact that the Food and Drug Administration has not approved the use of CBD oil for treating medical conditions. Yes, people use it for that purpose, but it has not been formally approved by the FDA for such use. As a result, the vast majority of CBD oil products are not covered by Medicaid, and you will need to purchase them out of pocket if you would like to use them for treatment.
There is an exception to this general rule, but it will only apply to a small number of people. If you need to treat epilepsy, there is a CBD medication which is designed to do that – and that treatment has been FDA approved. So, if your doctor would like you to use that medication to address your epilepsy, you may be able to get Medicaid coverage for your prescription. Otherwise, you’ll be out of luck when trying to get Medicaid to buy your CBD oil.
CBD Oil and CDPAP
The Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Program – often abbreviated as CDPAP – is a Medicaid program that allows individuals who need ongoing care to choose the person that will provide that care. Often, this means the individual is able to select a family member or trusted friend to provide the care they need, and the Medicaid system will compensate that caregiver for their work. The topic of CDPAP certainly deserves an article all its own, but this is a valuable program that has helped many people get the care they need from someone they trust.
So, how does CBD oil play into the CDPAP program? Well, as mentioned earlier, Medicaid does not pay for CBD oil in most cases, except for a specific epilepsy drug. So, regardless of a CDPAP arrangement, the purchase of the CBD oil will not be covered by Medicaid.
As for the caregiver administering CBD oil, the same considerations should be made as any individual will make when considering using this product. In other words, the patient’s doctor should be involved in any decision to use CBD oil, as it is important to make sure it’s safe to use with other medications. If a CBD oil product is administered, it should always be given within the guidelines provided with the oil.
Need Medicaid Assistance? Contact an NY Law Firm
Whether you have questions about acquiring CDB oil while on Medicaid benefits, or you need other help related to Medicaid, an experienced NY law firm is a great place to start. With the right law office on your side, you’ll be able to get answers to your questions so you can move forward with confidence. Medicaid benefits can make a big difference in your quality of life, so don’t take this topic for granted. Thank you for visiting and good luck!