Medication costs, whether prescription or non-prescription, may be paid through drug benefits that you have through private insurance (third-party) plans (such as Sunlife, Desjardins, etc.), disability benefits (eg., WCB), employer-provided health benefits (Shoppers Drug Mart, Loblaws), provincial/territorial drug benefit programs and federal drug plans for certain groups. At this time, cannabis sold by licensed producers does not have a drug identification number that permits ready access to payment for the medication under benefits plans. Coverage of the costs of medical cannabis is on a plan-by-plan basis and may depend on the condition it is prescribed for or may require a special authorization for coverage. In a recent Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission case, it was decided that a private insurer discriminated against the complainant in its denial of coverage for his prescribed medical cannabis.
Other plans have a blanket denial of coverage for cannabis presently. We encourage you to speak to your drug benefit carrier about the potential to have medical cannabis covered under your plan and where we are able to do so, we will provide you with documentation to assist your claim. In some cases, patients have successfully used the legal system to require their benefits providers to include cannabis in its coverage.They have also been awarded funds in litigation to cover the future cost of medical cannabis (Skinner v. Board of Trustees of the Canadian Elevator Industry Welfare Trust Fund, 2017 CanLII 3240 (NS HRC)).
The cost of medical cannabis may also be claimed as a medical expense when you file your income taxes. Veterans may have coverage through Veterans Affairs Canada.
Another consideration is that the cost of cannabis, even if it is not covered by a drug plan, may be more cost-effective than the co-pay cost of using a synthetic product or another form of medication.