Does Insurance Cover CBD?
As you have likely noticed, CBD has experienced a huge boom in its popularity of late. There’s a simple reason for this: Millions of users, and some scientific evidence, have found the compound to be very helpful in addressing a slew of physical and emotional issues. It’s popularity has turned CBD into big business, with one industry estimate saying that CBD is expected to generate $22 billion by 2022.
CBD is now legal in the United States, and given that it has applications which seem similar to medicine, many have asked whether or not CBD is covered by insurance.
The answer is no.
CBD is not covered by health insurance, for many reasons. First and foremost, CBD is not a prescription drug, and is available over the counter. Over the counter medicine is generally not covered by insurance, which typically only covers prescription medication that tends to be more expensive.
CBD is not usually covered by Health Savings Accounts. These accounts, which are tax-advantaged accounts that allow for pre-tax deposits and withdrawals after medical care or for medical equipment or drugs, do not typically recognize CBD as medicine. Furthermore, the IRS has not yet issued guidance about CBD’s status – as such, it is illegal for agencies which run Health Savings Accounts to offer reimbursement for them.
It is possible that, in the future, stronger CBD strains will be available that may be considered “prescription strength” and regulated by the FDA as such. However, if they contain more than .3% THC (the current amount which is legal to sell as CBD), they will still run into insurance issues. Medical Marijuana, currently legal in 33 states and Washington D.C., is not covered by insurance at the moment. This is because the Federal government still classifies marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug, meaning that it is illegal for insurance companies to cover the drug, even when prescribed by a medical professional. Furthermore, companies which sell medical marijuana cannot use the Federal banking system for the same reason – as such, medical marijuana remains a cash-only business in most places, despite the fact that it is prescribed by a Doctor and has the blessing of a states appropriate regulatory and medical authorities.
The only exception to this rule is Epidiolex, which is the first (and, at the moment) only drug approved by the United States’ Food & Drug Administration which has CBD as its active ingredient. As an FDA approved medication, the typical restrictions which apply to medical marijuana do not apply to Epidiolex. As such, it is eligible for reimbursement from insurance companies.