Will Your Health Insurance Pay for Your Weed?

Will Your Health Insurance Pay for Your Weed?

Introduction

Whether taken legally in some states for medicinal purposes or recreationally and illegally in others, marijuana is the drug of choice for many Americans. In fact, research as recent as 2013 indicates that marijuana use is on the rise. With voters across the country approving the legal use of medicinal marijuana, those figures only look to increase. Medicinal marijuana even stands to impact the health insurance marketplace. You might be used to getting your prescriptions covered through your insurance, but will you now be able to find one that pays for your weed, too?

Marijuana Use in America

A 2013 study conducted by Gallup revealed some interesting statistics about marijuana use in the U.S. A reported 38 percent of Americans admitted to trying marijuana up from 33 percent in 1985 and 34 percent in 1999. Few age boundaries exist as far as Americans’ marijuana use is concerned. Almost half of all individuals who have experimented with marijuana tried it for the first time between ages 30-49. In fact, this age group is the one most likely to be smoking weed today. According to Gallup, more individual’s ages 30 to 64 are smoking weed than their younger generation, young adults aged 18 to 29.

The Gallup poll further revealed little differences in marijuana use among races, education, and income levels. These findings show that marijuana use is pervasive in the U.S., with individuals from a variety of backgrounds smoking weed. While most are doing it recreationally, some marijuana use is for medicinal purposes, especially with changing laws in some states.

Marijuana Legality in the U.S.

Twenty U.S. states permit legal marijuana use in some capacity. State laws vary widely in this area even states that permit medicinal marijuana use have different laws on how it can be obtained and used. Proposals, propositions, state bills, and initiatives have been placed on many state ballots in recent years, with voters approving the legality of marijuana. For example, Arizona approved Proposition 203 in 2010, which allows qualifying patients to purchase a medical marijuana registry identification card. This card gives the patient permission to smoke weed for medicinal purposes, as prescribed by his or her physician. Other states have similar cards, which ensure that the patient can smoke weed to ease the symptoms of a range of debilitating conditions without being arrested or charged with a crime.

Impact on Health Insurance

Recent trends show that more and more voters are saying “yes” to legalizing marijuana. With medicinal marijuana accepted a legal treatment option in 20 states, it’s time to consider its impact on health care. As it stands today, medicinal marijuana does not have to be covered by health insurance, and federally funded health care programs such as Medicaid do not cover medicinal marijuana. Checking out healthcare.gov is not going to reveal an insurance plan that covers weed. So, while using marijuana for medicinal purposes is legal in many states, it still comes at the cost of the patient.

Looking Ahead

Platforms such as Jibe Health,   www.jibehealth.com match consumers based on their needs with affordable health insurance plans. Jibe Health also offers a variety of private health exchange plans options. Insurance Carriers include Bluecrossbluesheild.com Atena.com, Humana.com, Unitedhealth.com, Coventry, Cigna and many others.

However, even when you buy health insurance, you still have to pay out of pocket for medicinal marijuana because most laws state that insurance companies are not required to cover this treatment. So, for the time being, the answer to the question “Will my insurance pay for my weed?” is a resounding no.

That said, if marijuana is identified as an effective treatment for a range of conditions, proponents of medicinal marijuana have a valid argument in favor of insurance coverage. Research reveals that marijuana can help ease the symptoms and side effects of a range of conditions, helping individuals with cancer, HIV/AIDS, Lou Gehrig’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and a range of other chronic and debilitating conditions. If other prescriptions and treatments for these diseases are covered, why isn’t medical marijuana covered? In this form, weed is not an illegal drug being taken recreationally. Instead, it’s a prescription treatment just like your everyday antibiotic that is covered by health insurance. As the legality of marijuana shifts, will health insurance shift as well and, ultimately, cover weed as a treatment?

Those against insurance coverage would argue that the medicinal marijuana laws are open to fraud. Will individuals seeking easy access to weed fib about a health condition in order to get a legal prescription? Will unscrupulous health care practitioners seeking to increase their patient load readily dole out marijuana prescriptions? Will patients looking to score a weed prescription shop for doctors who are willing to prescribe marijuana for a range of benign medical issues, such as back pain or carpal tunnel syndrome? The mere potential for these problems to occur is enough for states and insurance companies to leave medical marijuana expenses up to the patient.

Conclusion

America’s views on marijuana legality are changing, and medicinal marijuana is a treatment option for an increasing number of citizens. This fluid situation will surely evolve over time, whether more states put medicinal marijuana on the ballot or insurance companies eventually cover this treatment or both.

JibeHealth Inc. all rights reserved 2015

www.jibehealth.com

 

 

Why Losing Your Group Health Benefits Can be Great News

Why Losing Your Group Health Benefits Can be Great News

JibeHealth.com

You’ve landed a new opportunity, and you’re evaluating the offer to decide if a job change is right for you. Or, maybe you’re not so lucky, and you’re desperately seeking to get out of the unemployment rut and have few choices. Either way, evaluating your benefit package is an important part of assessing the advantages and disadvantages of your job. Understanding what benefits–if any–are included with your job offer and your out-of-pocket costs is important. Unfortunately, this assessment might not bring good news because today’s employers are reducing coverage from all angles. Worse yet, you might even experience reduced coverage with your existing employer.

Shifting Coverage

Health care costs are rising, and with this increase, employers are not providing benefits like they used to. Decades ago, benefits packages were attractive for potential employees. Expansive health insurance coverage, combined with life insurance packages, accident and disability coverage and more, made benefits an important factor to consider when choosing to accept or reject a job offer. At the time, employees relied on these benefits and expected them even as they moved from one job to the next.

Today, however, many of these attractive features are gone. Employees are lucky to receive health insurance coverage at all. For many employers, offering accident and disability coverage, along with life insurance, is a thing of the past.

This dramatic and historic shift in health care coverage is, in part, due to the rising costs of health care, which falls largely on employers’ shoulders. Since 2006, the cost for an employer to have just one employee covered under its health care plan rose 40 percent. This increase resulted in a whopping $13,000-per-employee expense for employers. Projections indicate that these already high costs will continue to skyrocket, making it even more challenging for employers to continue to provide health care coverage.

Impact of Obamacare

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act–Obamacare has had an enormous impact on employer health care coverage. About 163 million Americans receive employer-sponsored health insurance coverage today. However, part of PPACA provides subsidies for families to receive health insurance without any employer contribution. Now that individuals have an alternative to employer-sponsored coverage, employers are rethinking their decision to provide health care, which is a major expense for any organization.

In fact, changes are already afoot. After the PPACA took effect, UPS decided to drop some of its employees’ spouses from its health care plan. Other companies across the country are making similar moves, shifting the expense of health care costs to the employee. With so many change in today’s health care marketplace, protecting yourself and your family is essential.

Your Options

Don’t rely on your current or future employers for health care coverage in these changing times. You have a wealth of health insurance options today, and what coverage your employer offers if any might not be the best fit for your family.

Even more, when you’re relying on employer-sponsored insurance, your coverage will always hang in the balance. Will your employer follow UPS’ lead and drop your spouse from the plan? Will your employer decide to stop offering health insurance coverage next year? When you take control of your coverage, these questions don’t have to keep you up at night.

Public exchanges are government-subsidized plans established through Obamacare. How much you pay depends on your income level, which means that public exchange plans are not the right fit or the most economical for all families. Private exchanges such as JibeHealth, www.jibehealth.com are possibly the best option in today’s changing health care marketplace, giving you even more choices than public ones including carriers like Bluecrossbluesheild.com Atena.com, Humana.com, Unitedhealth.com, Coventry, Cigna and many others.

Private exchange platforms allow you to choose coverage that truly fits your lifestyle. These plans can expand your provider network, allowing you to find physicians that fit your unique health care needs. Because these plans are PPOs Preferred Provider Organization they allow you to tap into a broader physician network, one that can even cross state lines.

Jibe Health Inc. all rights reserved 2015

www.jibehealth.com