Does Health Insurance Cover CBD Oil?

Does Health Insurance Cover CBD Oil?

As research continues to provide evidence of CBD oil’s many health benefits, more and more people are turning to this natural wonder for help. CBD oil has been shown to help relieve anxiety, improve symptoms of depression, and alleviate pain

While many scientific studies have backed up the claims about the benefits of CBD oil, and many people have already started to use it, the relatively high prices of CBD oil remain a concern. Many consumers opt for cheaper products only to find they yield ineffective results, as they contain dosages of the cannabidiol compound that are insufficient to produce the potential health benefits. 

Due to the high price tag of CBD oil, patients are often asking their doctors if their health insurance plans will cover the cost. In this post, we explore whether or not health insurance programs will ever cover CBD oil as well as look at the options that are currently available. 

Will Health Insurance Agencies Pay for CBD Oil?

It is not only the average consumer who is becoming more aware of the health-related properties of CBD oil. Many physicians have begun to notice as well, seeing their patient’s symptoms improve for various ailments. These products have scientific research behind the claims of their medicinal properties and yield almost no side effects in a majority of patients. 

As a result, some doctors are starting to recommend CBD oil as a treatment—often in combination with other conventional medications. And they’re being asked by their patients if it’s covered by health insurance. 

At the present time, the answer to this question is unfortunately no. There are no health insurance companies in the United States that will cover CBD oil or even medicinal marijuana, even if it’s prescribed by a doctor. Health insurance will not cover the costs even when a patient hands over a prescription at a dispensary. 

Why Won’t Health Insurance Companies Cover the Cost of CBD Oil?

Even though there is plenty of evidence regarding the medicinal uses for CBD oil—and even though doctors are already prescribing these oils to their patients—health insurance plans do not offer to cover the costs. This brings up the question of why, especially when there are a significant number of other pharmaceutical drugs that are covered— sometimes with similarly high or even higher price tags. 

There are two primary obstacles preventing health insurance companies from offering to cover CBD oil or similar treatment options such as medicinal marijuana.

The first obstacle is the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). When a new drug is released on the market, it must first be approved by the FDA before doctors can legally prescribe it to their patients.

The FDA focuses its attention on pharmaceutical products and has little interest in products that are primarily made from natural sources—so CBD products don’t get approved and, in turn, health insurance companies are not obligated to cover them. According to state laws, these agencies are only required to provide coverage for drugs that are FDA approved. 

So far the FDA has approved only one drug containing CBD, for a rare form of epilepsy.

The other obstacle to health insurance coverage for CBD oil is because it’s classified as a Schedule 1 controlled substance. This classification typically applies to marijuana, but laws in the U.S. state that any product containing the cannabidiol compounds found in marijuana must also fall under the classification. 

Cannabidiol is an active chemical that is found in both hemp and marijuana plants. Even though hemp is legal in most states—and is the plant used to produce CBD oils—the fact that it contains the same cannabidiol compounds as marijuana is why the Schedule 1 classification remains in place. 

What Options Are There for Patients?

At the moment, patients interested in obtaining CBD oil for its medicinal properties must pay for it out of their own pockets. There is currently no financial assistance for a patient wanting to obtain CBD oil for any health reason—even with a doctor’s prescription. 

For this reason, consumers are advised to be cautious when buying CBD oil. Quality products can reach more than $100 a bottle, and there have been reports that some brands have advertised CBD products that had little to no actual cannabidiol compounds in the solution.

Patients seeking CBD products need to make sure they’re purchasing them from a reputable company. It is critical that you do your research and examine the authenticity of the brand. 

CBD Oil and Health Insurance: What the Future May Hold

Even though health insurance companies don’t currently cover the cost of CBD oil, this doesn’t mean there will never be such coverage.

With a rapidly growing body of scientific research showing just how powerful CBD oil is for treating depression, anxiety, pain, inflammation, acne, and many other conditions in the human body, the FDA certainly could consider reviewing these products in the future.

Additionally, there could also be changes to the scheduling classification of the compound—ultimately leading to health insurance companies embracing CBD oil’s potential health benefits for patients. 

Conclusion

The medicinal properties of CBD oil have made these products exceptionally popular. Doctors are starting to prescribe these oils to their patients as a safer way to manage certain symptoms and diseases. Even though scientific research is backing up the claims about these oils, health insurance companies aren’t ready to help patients pay for them. But we could see companies come around to providing such coverage to patients in the future.

Sources

  1. https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/results?cond=&term=cannabidiol&cntry=US&state=&city=&dist=
  2. https://www.aarp.org/health/conditions-treatments/info-2018/cbd-oil-marijuana-health-benefits.html
  3. https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/fda-approves-first-drug-comprised-active-ingredient-derived-marijuana-treat-rare-severe-forms
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/?term=cbd+oil
  5. https://www.who.int/medicines/access/controlled-substances/5.2_CBD.pdf