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Medical Marijuana and Medicare Coverage


Once you get your medical marijuana card, you might assume Medicare will cover some of your costs. But, that isn’t the case. Medicare won’t cover medical marijuana, even if you have a legitimate prescription. But what about Part D? Will Part C cover cannabis? Let’s learn all about coverage for cannabis; when you can expect coverage, and when you’ll be paying for your medication.

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Does Medicare Cover Medical Marijuana?

The short answer is no, Medicare won’t cover your medical marijuana. But, Medicare is notorious for not covering things that are alternative therapies or medications. For the most part, you can expect to pay for your cannabis out-of-pocket.

Do Dispensaries Take Medicare Insurance?

No, dispensaries don’t take insurance. Since marijuana isn’t legal at the federal level, insurance companies can’t cover the medication. Also, dispensaries aren’t like the pharmacy.

They don’t have a contract with insurance companies to offer your medications at a discount or negotiated rates. Now, some dispensaries do have loyalty programs where you can save money when you buy your supply from them frequently or buy larger quantities of your medication.

Do Medicare Advantage Plans Cover Medical Marijuana?

Since Medicare won’t cover medical marijuana, Medicare Part C plans won’t cover it either. Now, if Medicare ever changes coverage to accommodate medical cannabis patients, then Medicare Advantage plans would follow suit.

Will a Medigap Plan Cover Medical Marijuana?

Medigap plans only cover when Medicare covers. Since Medicare won’t cover cannabis with a prescription, Medicare Supplements can’t help cover the cost either. And, since cannabis is a prescription, it’s likely that if Medicare ever covers it, it’ll become a Part D benefit, not a benefit through Medicare.

Does Having a Medical Marijuana Card Affect Medigap Insurance Eligibility?

Outside of the Medigap Open Enrollment Period, insurance companies may charge a higher premium to cannabis patients. It’s best to buy a policy when you’re first eligible for Medicare so you can avoid medical underwriting. Medical marijuana won’t get you denied a policy, but it could increase the cost.

Be honest with your agent about your medications so they can help you find the company that will make the most sense for you.

Does Part D Cover Cannabinoid-Based Medications?

While Medicare won’t cover marijuana, Part D may cover prescriptions derived from cannabis. Currently, there are four medications available that have approval through the FDA.

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The four medicines containing compounds present in marijuana are:

  • Marinol
  • Syndros
  • Cesamet
  • Epidiolex

FAQs

Will Medicare cover marijuana in states where it's legal?
No matter where you live, Medicare won’t cover medical marijuana. For insurance to approve a medication, it has to have FDA approval. Under federal law, the use of marijuana is illegal.
Will Medicare cover CBD oil?
Medicare doesn’t cover the use of CBD oil. CBD oil is an active ingredient in Epidiolex. Currently, the FDA has not approved CBD in medications other than Epidolex.
Will my health savings account or flexible spending account pay for medical marijuana?
Insurance companies fail to cover marijuana due to a lack of FDA approval. So, is there any hope for you with financial help? Unfortunately, the answer is no. For health savings accounts to cover a medical expense, it must have FDA approval.

How to Get Marijuana Derived Medications Covered by Medicare

Medications that derive from marijuana and have FDA approval will have Medicare Part D coverage. But, you have to sign up for Part D separate from Medicare. Our agents can help you find the policy that covers your medications at the lowest cost to you. Give us a call at the number above to discover your options. Or, fill out an online rate form and see plans in your area now.

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Jagger Esch

Jagger Esch is the Medicare expert for MedicareFAQ and the founder, president, and CEO of Elite Insurance Partners and MedicareFAQ.com. Since the inception of his first company in 2012, he has been dedicated to helping those eligible for Medicare by providing them with resources to educate themselves on all their Medicare options. He is featured in many publications as well as writes regularly for other expert columns regarding Medicare.

6 thoughts on “Medical Marijuana and Medicare Coverage

  1. Why is it called “Medical Marijuana” if medical insurance doesn’t cover it? Sounds like Uncle Sam just wants more money if you ask me!

    1. Hi Kenny! You’re not the first person to ask that! There’s a lot of prescriptions out there that health insurance doesn’t cover at first. However, that doesn’t mean one day it won’t be covered!

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