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.
You can find more including CBD research on how cbd works here.
My whole family uses CBD for issues ranging from acne to sleep issues from perimenopause!
But I digress.
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.
Check out all the research on CBD here.
You can also learn how CBD works in the body here.
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
You can see a screen list of top CBD brands and products here.
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.�
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!
Call us at 800-320-6269 and we can go through any questions or run your health insurance quote. Thanks!