Canada Medical Marijuana Plan
Canada Medical Marijuana Plan

Canada To Insure Medical Marijuana Patients

Sun Life Insurance Goes All In On Medical Marijuana

Posted by:
DanaSmith on Thursday Jun 30, 2016

Canada To Insure Medical Marijuana Patients




With all the red tape still going up in smoke with marijuana legalization in the United States, I wouldn’t blame you if you decided to migrate to Canada.


Canada already enjoys the reputation of offering some of the best healthcare systems in the world. And on top of that, Sun Life Insurance in Canada is now including medical cannabis as part of their services. Our North American neighbor is quickly being weeded out by the rest of the world as becoming one of the most progressive in many ways, and among them the changing perceptions towards marijuana use. Hopefully, other insurance companies in Canada as well as the United States will follow suit soon.


Sun Life Canada has changed their policy in order to cater to medical marijuana users, so that they can be classified as non-smokers when they apply for life insurance.


Easier Access In Canada


The Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations, or MMPR was passed in 2013, providing Canadian cannabis retailers and producers access to a commercial structure. The MMPR stipulates that citizens who are in need of medical cannabis for treatment can have access to the plant as long as it’s been grown in a safe environment.  But while most medications can already be reimbursed by the nation’s health care program, HealthCanada, marijuana is still not considered as one of those medicines.


Although cannabis use is still a little hazy in Canada since the MMPR states that you will still need to register with a licensed medical marijuana provider and have the right documents in place. Simply put, cannabis is still not on the same level as pharmaceutical drugs and that’s why insurance companies won’t reimburse you for your medical marijuana. The only way that an insurance provider will pay for it, is if they see that medical marijuana is the suitable treatment for you.


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Valid Medical Expense


Jonathan Zaid, a student of Waterloo, has been suffering from stubborn headaches since he was 14 years old.  He has been an advocate of medical marijuana himself, pushing for insurance providers to acknowledge that medical cannabis patients should not be categorized on the same level as cigarette smokers. Most insurance providers still categorize marijuana users in the same level as tobacco smokers, whether they use the pot for recreation or medicine.


"It also speaks to the way that the industry is moving forward and recognizing cannabis use is medicinal and looking at the research and acting accordingly, " according to Zaid. He eventually founded the Canadians for Fair Access to Medical Marijuana (CFAMM), a non-profit and patient-run organization that works to improve and protect the rights of medical marijuana patients. However, it took Zaid a lot of work and effort to get to where he is now; he fought hard and had to face back and forth meetings with the school’s student union who manages the student health plan so that they would cover the costs of his cannabis like other pharmaceutical drugs.


In a statement, Sun Life said: “In our industry, we keep up to date with medical studies and companies update their underwriting guidelines accordingly. As a result, people who use marijuana are now assessed when they apply for insurance at Sun Life at non-smoker rates, unless they also use tobacco.”


Sun Life has already reportedly reimbursed Zaid with $2,000 for a vaporizer and marijuana flowers which he purchased last year.


Meanwhile in America, states are still debating how marijuana should be classified, with a significant number of the population still considering it a drug instead of an herb or a medicine.


While technically, recreational marijuana is still illegal in Canada, it looks like they will be integrating MMPR into the current health care system. The Health Canada website even has a web page dedicated to answering questions about medical marijuana use.






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