Coverage for Medical Marijuana

On April 12, 2017, the New York Department of Financial Services (DFS) published Insurance Circular Letter No. 6 (2017), which relates to health insurance coverage for medical marijuana. The bulletin states that NY law allows the possession, acquisition, use, delivery, transfer, transportation and administration of medical marijuana by a certified patient or designated caregiver possessing a valid registry identification card, for certified medical use. According to the letter, DFS has received questions as to whether coverage must be provided for an office visit during which a practitioner provides the patient with a medical marijuana certification. The letter states that if office visits are covered under the insurance policy or contract, the insurer may not deny coverage for the office visit only on the basis that the visit also resulted in the individual receiving a medical marijuana certificate. That said, the law does not require coverage for office visits solely to obtain a medical marijuana certification.

The letter contains no new employer obligations. But employers with fully insured plans in New York should be aware of DFS’s position on medical marijuana, in case questions arise from employees regarding coverage.

Insurance Circular Letter No. 6 (2017) »