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Is Medical Marijuana Covered By Insurance in 2024?

Emily Mullins

by Emily Mullins

March 19, 2024 02:33 pm ET Estimated Read Time: 7 Minutes
Fact checked by Kymberly Drapcho
Is Medical Marijuana Covered By Insurance in 2024?

Medical marijuana is currently legal in 38 states and Washington, D.C., and there are hundreds of thousands of patients holding medical cards across the country. Despite this, cannabis is still a federally illegal Schedule I substance, although this will hopefully change soon. Since it has become so popular, many patients wonder if medical cannabis is covered by health insurance. Unfortunately, marijuana is not covered by most of the plans currently available.

There are a number of reasons for this, and we’ll dive more into this common question below.

TL;DR: Is Medical Marijuana Covered by Insurance?

For now, medical marijuana is not covered by health insurance. This is largely due to the fact that it’s still a federally illegal substance listed as having no medical benefits. Offering patients a Schedule I substance is highly illegal and can cause healthcare providers to get their licenses revoked, which is why you can’t go to your local pharmacy and pick up cannabis–instead, you must visit a registered dispensary. You may wonder, then, why you can go to a doctor and get a certification for medical cannabis. However, they aren’t actually prescribing marijuana–they’re simply stating that you have a condition that qualifies you for it in your state and recommending it as a treatment.

As a result of marijuana’s schedule classification, it’s been difficult in the past for scientists to study the potential medical benefits of cannabis, leading to an absence of proper research on its benefits and uses that could make it easier for healthcare providers to prescribe marijuana. Cannabis also lacks FDA (Food & Drug Administration) approval, which is necessary in order for a drug to be prescribed to patients for specific ailments.

While marijuana’s current scheduling is subject to change, potentially as soon as this year, it could still take a long time for it to become covered by health insurance plans if it ever is. For now, no step of the medical marijuana process, including the doctor’s visit, registration, or cannabis purchases, is covered under health insurance. This includes private health plans and public plans like Medicaid or Medicare. Fortunately for cannabis users, there are some fairly inexpensive ways to access medical cannabis without going through insurance.

General Stand of Insurance Organizations on Medical Marijuana

The following sections explain why different health insurance companies don’t cover marijuana.

Private Health Insurance

Private health insurance companies are federally mandated, so they must follow federal guidelines regarding drugs. They don’t want to entangle themselves with marijuana, even in states where cannabis is legal for medicinal or recreational use.

Additionally, private health insurance companies don’t cover over-the-counter medications like Ibuprofen or cough syrup, making it even less likely that they will cover cannabis whether it becomes federally legalized or not.

Fortunately for patients, some modern corporations are looking to potentially change this. Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) are a type of personal savings account dedicated to healthcare costs that may eventually cover marijuana if it is federally legalized. They can also sometimes cover food supplements or vitamins if a doctor believes them necessary.

There are also new companies like Novus Cannabis MedPlan, which will hopefully be able to provide coverage to patients who need medical cannabis. However, these are still very new ideas, and they have not yet been implemented on a wider scale.


Medicare, which is for those over 65 or with certain qualifying circumstances, is a federally managed plan paid for with taxes. As such, plans must adhere to federal law and cannot cover cannabis purchases.

Rescheduling cannabis could eventually lead to FDA approval of cannabis treatment for certain conditions, but it will take years for a sufficient body of evidence to be gathered to reach this stage of the process.

Not all hope is lost, though. Some CBD treatments, such as the CBD tincture for treating seizures Epidiolex, are currently approved by the FDA and may be covered by Medicare under certain circumstances. This sparks hope for a future where more CBD and THC-derived products are seen as legitimate medical treatments.


Medicaid is very similar to Medicare, as it’s also a federally managed health plan paid for by taxes. To qualify for Medicare, a patient must be:

Why You Should Get Your Medical Marijuana Card

Veriheal has satisfied millions of patients nationwide by giving them access to these benefits

  • Larger purchase limits
  • Peace of mind
  • Enhanced legal protection
  • Access to higher potency strains
  • Save up to 25% on cannabis purchases
  • Skip the line at the dispensary
  • living under a certain income limit
  • a single parent
  • blind
  • disabled

Since it is federally run, Medicaid also cannot pay for any part of the medical marijuana process. However, there is a small handful of states that have some exceptions. New York Medicaid plans will reimburse patients for doctor certification visits, and New Hampshire and New Mexico offer reimbursement for medical marijuana purchases. Pennsylvania and New Jersey may soon adopt similar policies.

Does Having a Medical Marijuana Card Reduce Health Insurance Costs?

While having a medical marijuana card won’t impact your health insurance premiums, deductibles, copays, or other costs, it can make getting treatment for certain conditions less expensive.

Even with health insurance, some medications can cost patients thousands of dollars a year in out-of-pocket costs. And, while medical cannabis isn’t necessarily cheap, there are ways to mitigate costs. Having a medical card allows you to be exempt from many of the taxes applied to cannabis, and medical patients often have access to lower prices and a wider range of products. There is also enhanced legal protection available with a medical card, and it makes it easier to purchase cannabis when traveling between states.

An increasing number of states, such as New Jersey and Ohio, are waiving the fees associated with getting a medical card, making the entire process only as expensive as your initial doctor visit. Programs like Veriheal only charge patients if they are approved, and we offer payment plans to make care more accessible.

Tips to Get Medical Marijuana at Affordable Prices

Fortunately for cannabis consumers, there are ways to get medical marijuana without breaking the bank.

Having a medical card is one of the most crucial ways to save money. You can save hundreds or thousands of dollars a year in taxes on marijuana purchases, and medical patients are often eligible for extra savings and discounts as well. While the initial doctor’s visit may seem pricey, there are services available that offer low-cost options, so you can easily get your card in person or virtually.

Your preferred method of consumption can also make a big difference. Edibles, concentrates, tinctures, and vapes often last much longer than traditional flower, allowing you to stretch your stash further. You can also invest in stash boxes or use mason jars and other airtight containers to keep your supply fresh longer.

Additionally, taking tolerance breaks regularly will allow you to get high on smaller amounts of cannabis and prevent you from needing large amounts to feel the same effects.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you have further questions regarding medical cannabis and health insurance, the answers below may be able to help.

Does insurance cover medical marijuana?

For now, health insurance plans do not cover medical marijuana or any part of the process to get it, including the doctor’s visit, registration, or product purchases.

Why won’t health insurance pay for medical marijuana?

Health insurance plans cannot pay for medical cannabis because marijuana is still a federally illegal Schedule I substance listed as having no medical benefits. If doctors or healthcare organizations were to prescribe it, they could lose their licenses to practice medicine.

Does health insurance cover medical marijuana in any state?

Some state Medicaid programs will help patients with reimbursement for medical marijuana products, but for now, the majority of health insurance plans do not cover any part of the medical cannabis acquisition process.

Get Your Medical Marijuana Card Today

There are numerous benefits associated with getting a medical marijuana card, even in states where adult-use (recreational) cannabis is legalized, and our team of expert doctors can help you easily navigate the process. We’ll help you with certification for your qualified condition, registration in your state, finding local dispensaries, and more.

Sign up today to learn more about our quick, easy, and professional services. If you don’t qualify, you won’t pay anything for your consultation.

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