Prescription Denied: Insurers and Medical Marijuana

With the legal battles around medical marijuana falling away, you’d think that this would lead to a large amount of patients gaining access to it. Unfortunately, in many places around the country, you would be wrong.

Many new laws have been created recently that limit the use of medical marijuana. For example, a bill is going up in Michigan making it so that a landlord can prevent you from smoking medical marijuana, even with a prescription. Arkansas is leveeing huge fees on growers, which is slowing the rate of production in the state. But the most problematic of this weeks’ news items was how one of Florida’s largest regional mental health care providers will not cover medical marijuana for their patients.

Anyone who has followed medical marijuana knows that it can significantly affect many mental health issues for the better, and yet it will not be covered for many people in the state. You can see this cropping up in others as well, as many insurance providers grapple with whether or not they will allow their patients to use this plant.

However, the reasons for denying it’s use are flimsier by the day. Medical marijuana now has proven medical applications, and is legal in over half of the U.S. In addition, it’s cheap to grow and provide ( at least more so than many prescriptions most patients would normally receive) and in many cases would actually save insurers money.

Many of these insurers are claiming that their patients have mental disorders that could be worsened by medical marijuana. In particular, the fear is that medical marijuana could make some of their schizophrenic patients even more paranoid and possibly violent. And while that could be a valid fear, it seems like a strange choice to outright ban the use of it for anyone under their care. And while many people will say “just switch insurers”, that is not an easy prospect in many areas of the country, particularly with mental health.

We’ll keep you updated as more of these cases come to light.

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