Medicare does not cover CBD oil, but as research continues, that could eventually change. Medicaid and CBD Products Will Medicaid pay for CBD oil? What if prescribed by a doctor? No, Medicaid, nor any other insurance, will pay for CBD (cannabidiol) oil. This holds true even if it Are you wondering what the benefits of CBD oil are? Learn more and if its covered by Medicaid here.
Why Medicare Still Doesn’t Cover CBD Oil, And How That May Change
Cannabidiol (CBD) is now decidedly mainstream. In fact, CBD-based products have flooded the shelves of many pharmacies and grocery stores in various states. But what about CBD and Medicare? Medicare doesn’t cover CBD, despite its growing popularity.
Who Uses CBD Oil, and What Can it Treat?
A 2019 Gallup poll found that 14% of Americans report using CBD products such as chocolates, oils, fragrances, bath products, capsules, and lotions.
Despite limited research on the benefits of CBD, CBD proponents and manufacturers claim it can treat everything from cancer to anxiety. 40% of CBD users say they seek relief from pain. Other popular uses include anxiety (20%), insomnia (11%) and arthritis (8%). These conditions are notoriously difficult to treat. Traditional prescription drugs may cause unpleasant side effects, and do not offer relief to all sufferers. So the promise of a natural substance offering relief for these symptoms is very appealing.
CBD does have one clear, proven benefit. It can treat seizures associated with two types of epilepsy—Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. In 2018, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a CBD-based drug, Epidiolex, for the treatment of these severe, rare forms of epilepsy.
Why Doesn’t Medicare Cover CBD?
Original Medicare (Parts A and B) only covers treatment received in a medical facility such as a hospital or doctor’s office. Part B covers a very limited number of prescription drugs, and CBD medications are not on that list.
Medicare beneficiaries have the option to purchase a Part D prescription drug plan in order to expand their drug coverage. They may also opt for private insurance through a Medicare Advantage (Medicare part C) plan, many of which cover prescription drugs.
However, even with a prescription drug plan, you cannot get coverage for CBD oil and other over-the-counter products. There are at least two reasons for this:
- There are no drug products containing CBD, other than Epidiolex, that are approved by the FDA.
- According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Part D plans only cover drugs that have been approved by the FDA.
If you have a prescription for Epidiolex and your Medicare Part D or Medicare Advantage plan covers the drug, then you can use Medicare to access this one medication containing CBD. However, a recommendation from a doctor that you try over-the-counter CBD oil is not sufficient for using Medicare to pay for any other product containing CBD.
Will Medicare Cover CBD Oil in the Future?
With so many potential uses of CBD, research is ongoing. If scientifically-rigorous evidence finds support for other CBD uses, manufacturers could develop CBD-based drugs for many conditions.
If these future drugs receive FDA approval, they could also become medically-recognized prescriptions. That would open the door to Medicare coverage. No such drug approvals are on the immediate horizon, althoughsearch leaves open the possibility that Medicare may eventually cover other prescription forms of CBD.
Medicaid and CBD Products
Will Medicaid pay for CBD oil? What if prescribed by a doctor?
No, Medicaid, nor any other insurance, will pay for CBD (cannabidiol) oil. This holds true even if it is prescribed by a physician.
To explain, despite the growing popularity of using CBD to treat medical conditions, it has not been approved by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) for this purpose. That said, there is one exception that exists. In June of 2018, the FDA approved a prescription CBD medication, Epidiolex, which is used to treat two types of epilepsy. Please note that this is the only CBD product for which Medicaid will pay.
Further complicating the use of CBD oil for medicinal purposes, and Medicaid coverage, is that the DEA (United States Drug Enforcement Agency) still classifies CBD oil as a Schedule I Drug, the same class of drugs as heroin and ecstasy. As a side note, any FDA-approved CBD product with no greater than 0.1% THC (tetrahydrocannabinols) are considered to be Schedule V Drugs. This class of drugs has a low potential for abuse and contains some cough and anti-diarrhea medications.
Will Medicaid Pay for CBD Oil
During recent years, many people turned to CBD oil to treat a host of medical conditions and problems. Moreover, as the federal government recently legalized hemp, patients may be able to access medicines that contain CBD oil through their Medicaid coverage.
Although the list of CBD medications that Medicaid covers is narrow, there are a lot of reasons to expect it to expand in the near future.
In this article, we go over all that you need to know about CBD oil, its uses, and the potential side effects, alongside if and when Medicaid will pay for it.
What is CBD Oil?
Cannabidoil (CBD) is a natural remedy and an ingredient that is found in the cannabis plant. Many people rely on it to treat common medical issues, such as pain and anxiety.
CBD oil is extracted from hemp and, after that, diluted through the addition of carrier oils (coconut or hemp seed oil, for instance).
It is important to note that, while CBD comes from the marijuana plant, using doesn’t make you “high” or cause psychoactive effects. In fact, it is carefully separated from the intoxicating ingredients of cannabis and isolated during extraction.
Ever since hemp was made legal in 2018, CBD oil started to become prevalent across the U.S. for medical reasons.
Uses for CBD Oil
People utilize CBD oil to deal with certain health conditions and problems. To illustrate, here are some examples of what CBD oil is used for:
- Pain relief, especially for arthritis and inflammatory diseases
- Reducing anxiety
- Managing depression
- Minimizing the effects of insomnia and improving sleep quality
- Alleviating problems related to cancer and chemotherapy
- Enhancing the body’s neuroprotective functions
- Improving the heart’s health
- Treating acne and/or skin lesions
- Boosting bone health
- Reducing the risk of diabetes
- Lowering the risk of obesity
There are also other CBD oil benefits. However, if you are considering CBD oil to treat a health issue, learning about its potential side effects is just as important as understanding the medical uses.
Side Effects of CBD Oil
People who use CBD oil may experience one or more of the following side effects:
- A reduced appetite and changes in body weight
- Dryness in the mouth
- Drowsiness and/or lightheadedness
- Gastrointestinal discomfort
- Low blood pressure
Furthermore, CBD may interact with certain medicines. More specifically, if you’re taking any blood thinners, you should let your doctor know that you are/will start using CBD oil. This is because some of the CBD ingredients could have a negative interaction when taken alongside blood-thinning medicines.
Needless to say, you should consult with your doctor even if you aren’t taking any medicines in order to ensure that CBD oil is suitable for your individual circumstances.
Will Medicaid Cover CBD Oil?
Unless you have a very specific condition (more on that to follow), Medicaid will not cover CBD oil. Although it’s federally legal, CBD isn’t approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a medical treatment.
This is not to say that you can’t use it to treat health problems, nor does it mean that your doctor is prohibited from discussing the medical benefits of CBD oil.
Instead, they simply can’t prescribe it, but they may still recommend it and give you advice based on your personal circumstances and health.
Nonetheless, since CBD oil can’t be prescribed, neither Medicaid nor any insurance company will pay for it. The only exception is if it falls under one of the FDA’s exceptions.
Exceptions Where Medicaid Will Cover CBD
Under FDA regulations, Epidiolex is the only CBD oil-containing medicine that is approved for medical usage. In other words, Medicaid will cover Epidiolex if your doctor prescribes it.
The FDA permits using Epidiolex to treat the following conditions amongst patients who are at least 1 year of age or older:
- Lennox-Gastaut syndrome
- Dravet syndrome patients
- Seizures caused by tuberous sclerosis complex
Other than that, the FDA is continuing to examine other CBD-containing medications for patients.
If you don’t have any of the four conditions above, you should still talk to your doctor about whether or not CBD oil is the right treatment for you.
While they can’t give you a prescription, a physician could offer valuable advice about using CBD oil for medical purposes, such as pain relief, managing insomnia, improving your bone’s health, and more.
They may also warn you of potential side effects or interactions between CBD oil and any medications that you’re currently taking.
In short, Medicaid will not cover CBD oil unless it falls under the FDA’s exemptions. However, the FDA may approve more medicines that contain CBD in the near future.
For the time being, you should continue to talk to your doctor, determine if CBD oil can help you deal with your health issues, and keep a close eye out for potentially uncomfortable side effects.