Does Health Insurance Cover CBD (Cannabidiol)
It’s a question that’s coming up more and more.
With good reason.
The buzz on CBD (short for cannabidiol) is everywhere.
It’s showing impressive results in research across a wide range of issues:
- Fights cancer
- Helps with auto immune
Again, the list keeps growing.
My whole family uses CBD for issues ranging from acne to sleep issues from perimenopause!
How does health insurance look at it?
Many people are using CBD for chronic, on-going issues (such as pain) so we want to afford it.
The above site has the major CBD brands ranked by value or price but what about health insurance.
Let’s take a look at the question which is evolving.
- What is CBD?
- Is CBD a supplement?
- Is CBD legal?
- How does health insurance treat CBD?
- Can I pay for CBD from my HSA plan?
Lots of great questions.
Again, for a comparison of CBD options, you can jump right here:
Otherwise, let’s get into it.
What is CBD
CBD is short for cannabidiol.
It’s a member of the cannabinoids which are found in the cannabis plant.
It’s cousin, THC, gets all the press for its psychoactive effects and illegality (Federally and in many States).
CBD is quite different!
Here’s a quick list of main differences:
- CBD is not psychoactive
- CBD has a strong safety profile
- CBD is being studied for many health benefits
- CBD is legal in all 50 states
It came to people’s attention via a girl, Charlotte Figi who had horrific seizures (multiple per day).
CBD basically stopped the seizures where no medications were working.
Researchers then started to research CBD and found it influenced a system that we have naturally throughout our bodies.
The endocannabinoid system!
It appears to have an important role in balancing other key systems:
- Nervous system (neurotransmitters, mood, etc)
- Endocrine system (hormones, appetite, sleep, etc)
- Immune system (inflammatory response, autoimmune issues, etc)
Okay. so those ARE important.
CBD’s classification by the US government and FDA is an important hint at how health insurance will treat it.
What is it (in the eyes of the government)?
Is CBD a supplement
The FDA actually has two different categories for CBD.
It recently approved the first CBD drug to treat seizures related to 2 rare diseases. This drug is called Sativex. It’s a purified version of CBD.
Otherwise, CBD sold on the market is treated as a food supplement.
In this way, the FDA does not have much regulation of it.
For that reason, it’s important to only use trusted brands with the following:
- 3rd party testing
- Specified CBD amounts in the product
- Solvent, pesticide, heavy metal, and bacteria/mold free
What about its legality?
Is CBD legal?
CBD is legal in all 50 states and the main brands will ship to all 50 states.
Its federal status is still catching up with the State’s designation of legal.
Leave it to the Feds to take forever on something that so many people are already purchasing legally at the State level.
Since the FDA has already designated it as a food supplement, it should be a matter of time for the Fed’s to catch up.
They are not showing any priority in going after CBD.
Again, there are very large companies that are legally shipping the product to all 50 States.
Canada and the EU are well ahead of us on this point.
How does health insurance treat CBD
Finally, the question you started with.
How does health insurance treat it.
If you are prescribed Sativex or other CBD-based medications that require prescription through your doctor, that will likely be covered.
If you are using CBD as a food supplement, it will likely not be covered.
Health insurance plans do not cover food supplements no matter how helpful.
Maybe they’ll start when they realize the cost savings for the entire health care system.
What about HSA’s?
Can I pay for CBD from my HSA plan
In general, HSA’s will not pay for food supplements.
The outlier may be if a doctor prescribes the supplement to address a health condition (such as B12 deficiency).
To be safe, HSA’s reimburse for substances prescribed by a doctor.
Here’s the actual verbiage from the IRS:
You can’t include in medical expenses the cost of nutritional supplements, vitamins, herbal supplements, ‘natural medicines,’ etc. unless they are recommended by a medical practitioner as treatment for a specific medical condition diagnosed by a physician. Otherwise, these items are taken to maintain your ordinary good health and aren’t for medical care.ќ
Until the medical field catches up with the CBD research, HSA reimbursement of CBD does not appear to be available.
In light of that, we need to find the most affordable source of safety screened, high purity CBD.
Do we expect health insurance to cover CBD in the future
Our guess is yes.
And not because they’re great guys who want to pay more.
If you can use CBD to adequately address psoriasis at $100/month versus one of the many autoimmune medications at $5000/month, which one do you think the health insurance carriers will go with?
The problem is that they’re beholden to the FDA and medical practice which moves very slow.
Most people don’t even know what CBD is!
Even more incorrectly associate it with marijuana and THC.
It’s going to require time for the establishment to catch up with the millions of people finding relief from CBD.
We’ll update as we get new information!
Does Insurance Cover CBD Oil?
Ah, insurance–the aspect of adult life that can both break our backs and help us fix them. Insurance can, at times, seem like an overwhelming, convoluted mess when you’re simply trying to find security in your health. Depending on the insurance you’re covered by and your familiarity with it, you’ll know that some things are taken care of while others are left outstanding (and fall to your responsibility).
CBD oil is one of them. CBD oil, since its emergence as a separate entity than the psychoactive THC of the cannabis plant, seems to be limitless. There is a growing laundry list of health benefits it contributes to and it’s moving its way into recreational popularity as well.
Some prefer to use it as an oil, some prefer to vape it, others like to eat it in candy. Regardless of your preferred consumption, at base-level CBD is an extracted ingredient that, at its most basic, is used medicinally. But does insurance cover CBD oil?
Using CBD as Medicine
The movement to legalize marijuana was just the tipping point. It is still federally classified as a Schedule I drug, but considering more than half of the country has moved to be on board with using it medicinally, it’s likely to change. As of 2018, hemp is legal again in the United States thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill. Hemp is known for many healing qualities, and it’s teeming with CBD and has only trace amounts of THC.
Cannabis was criminalized due to a nation in fearful hysterics, aka Reefer Madness, and allowed for cigarettes and booze to take over the scene. Research into the plant became scant, and tobacco reigned supreme.
Thanks to the Father of Marijuana, we now know that the dangers associated with cannabis are a far cry from those of nicotine-packed cigarettes. To go a step further, his research shed light on the fact that THC is different than CBD. Even people who came to love cannabis for its euphoric high have found that their lives can be just as happy and healthy with a little CBD instead.
A quick YouTube search turns up hundreds of accounts of miraculous results from people using CBD for a range of disabilities and illnesses. In some cases, CBD appears to calm the shaking hands of people living with Parkinson’s Disease. Others find that applying it directly to the skin has impressive effects against arthritis.
Just as CBD has been able to assist the elderly community in dealing with the aches and pains associated with aging, the younger generation is also bearing witness to its power. The first-ever FDA-approved drug was created in response to Lennox-Gastaut and Dravet’s Syndrome, childhood diseases associated with frequent, severe seizures. Working along with the endocannabinoid system, the CBD is able to relax the receptors in the brain that lead to seizures and has effectively plummeted their daily severity and frequency. This drug can be used in children as young as 2 years old.
Aside from the severe debilitating diseases that CBD works to improve, it’s become popular across the board, bridging all age gaps for its relaxation effects. People who suffer from anxiety and depression are looking increasingly to CBD to help calm nervous tension. Some use it as a sleep aid. Mothers have been trying CBD in place of pharmaceutical medicine for behavioral issues like ADHD. With all these benefits, it’s no wonder people are asking, “Does insurance cover CBD oil?”
Does Insurance Cover CBD Oil?
Taking the high out of cannabis has given the plant an attractive makeover, and the medicinal community is gradually coming to terms with the nice new kid on the block. But does insurance cover CBD oil?
Cannabis and all cannabis-related products are still listed on the pesky list of Schedule I drugs, along with substances like heroin, ecstasy, and meth. While the others may wreak havoc and make a mess of things, cannabis just wants everyone to get along and to be able to enjoy life. With the 2018 Farm Bill’s legalization of hemp, the government is beginning to recognize the plant’s benefits and lack of harmful qualities.
The medical community is also beginning to recognize CBD’s benefits. But before insurance starts paying for it, the medical and insurance industry need to figure out how to make money from it. Big pharma has reigned supreme for far too long just to be put in the back seat by the cool new guy.
CBD oil can be found in some drug stores, but it will cost you out of pocket. Depending on who your doctor is, you’re unlikely to get prescribed CBD in the US anytime soon. If they’re not prescribing it, insurance isn’t covering it. Unfortunately, that’s the answer right now to the question, “does insurance cover CBD oil?”
Again, to take note from our proverbial nice new guy on the block, things are looking up. Already the UK has seen the opportunity for doctor-prescribed cannabis. Landmark moments like these are inspiring for Western culture and the rise of cannabis from the ashes of Reefer Madness seems impending.
Your doctor may be on board for you to use CBD oil. Depending on your level of need, they may even offer some suggestions for a method, timing, or dosage. Doctors in legal states can also write a certificate for you to purchase medical marijuana, including high CBD strains. As of right now that’s as far as the healthcare system has dipped into sponsoring CBD oil.
Insurance won’t cover your CBD oil purchase, but that’s not to say it isn’t worth the personal investment. All things considered, CBD can be somewhat reasonably priced, especially compared to many pharmaceutical drugs, even after insurance covers their portion.CBD oil has been heralded for its many benefits. But it is rather pricey. Does insurance cover CBD oil? We answer this question (and more) in this article. ]]>