As more individuals become aware of the benefits of medical cannabis and acceptance develops, there is a growing demand for expanded coverage. According to a recent survey, 12% of plan sponsors claimed coverage in 2019, up from 8% the previous year.1
Furthermore, 64% of employees with workplace health plans believed that medical cannabis should be covered by their health benefit plan when authorized by a physician or nurse practitioner.2
Medical cannabis is becoming widely attractive, but the federal government has yet to recognize it as an approved drug under the Food and Drugs Act, and as a result, it lacks a Drug Identification Number (DIN). To get around this, Starseed is one of the first and few to develop a set of pseudo-DINs (PINs) that are widely accepted by insurers when processing claims.
Another important factor for employers to consider is that there are data to suggests that using medical cannabis instead of prescription medicines, particularly opioids, can lower overall treatment costs. In some circumstances the cost of medical cannabis is far less than the cost of traditional pharmaceuticals.
Methadone maintenance therapy, an opioid use disorder treatment, can cost over $5,500 per year, 3 whereas a medical cannabis treatment plan can cost between $1000 and $1,500 per year. This isn’t even taking into account the associated collateral costs of opiate use, such as disability, rehabilitation and counselling, absenteeism, and presenteeism. In fact, cannabis is likely to spare patients many of the side effects associated with opioid use.