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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.

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, 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.

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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Lindsay Malzone

Lindsay Malzone is the Medicare expert for MedicareFAQ. She has been working in the Medicare industry since 2017. She is featured in many publications as well as writes regularly for other expert columns regarding Medicare. You can also find her over on our Medicare Channel on YouTube as well as contributing to our Medicare Community on Facebook.

5 thoughts on “Medical Marijuana and Medicare Coverage

  1. Very expensive…I have many health issues ex. Wires in my head and stimulator in my chest, autoimmune disease no cure to name a couple.. when I go to the airport I have medical ID and go through pat down….what is disturbing which I find out when my mother and I had to make an emergency trip to her I’ll brother is that even though you have medical ID for medical marijuana, you can not take it out of state so for however period of time you’re gone.. you have to stop taking it….why can’t you use your ID and take the medical marijuana with you.. and if they consider that it may be given to someone else, just place a limit on what you can bring….just like with any drug, you can’t just stop taking your medicines immediately cause it can cause more health issues, even death…maybe if this was approved by Medicare, and covered… this world would be a better place than to have overdosed and deaths occurring because they are picking stuff off the streets that are laced with things like ex. Fentanyl or whatever. And they get it cheaper not knowing what’ they are getting and where it originated from…thank you for allowing me to voice my opinion..

  2. It’s rediculous that the FDA won’t declassify mmj for patient use. You can get a mmj card but not be able to afford to get it to use it.

  3. If the government isn’t going to cover medical marijuana then they shouldn’t be able to collect the taxes on it! Period we cannot get pain meds because of the new laws, and being in chronic pain for more than 20 years! without a doctors prescribed pain meds I really cannot function but they don’t care if you are in pain! It’s cruel u wouldn’t let an animal suffer would you?

  4. 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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