Saturday, September 16, 2017
A Maine insurance company has pushed a case concerning the reimbursement of one of their client's medical marijuana expenses up to the Maine Supreme Court. Although the state legalized medical use of marijuana in late 1999, Maine's Supreme Court has yet to consider the issue of an insurance company's liability under federal law when it is forced to reimburse one of its policyholders for his or her medical marijuana purchase. Many states are divided on this issue. As The Associated Press states:
Five states — Connecticut, Maine, Minnesota, New Jersey and New Mexico — have found medical marijuana treatment is reimbursable under their workers compensation laws, according to the National Council for Compensation Insurance. Florida and North Dakota, meanwhile, passed laws this year excluding medical marijuana treatment from workers’ compensation reimbursement.
The final decision in this case has the potential to be very beneficial or detrimental to the medical marijuana business in Maine. If Maine's Supreme Court ends up ruling that medical marijuana should be covered under insurance policies, it will likely open the door to many more people being able to use medical marijuana as a treatment for their ailments because the out-of-pocket cost of medical marijuana would no longer be an issue. However, if the verdict states that insurance companies do not have to reimburse their clients when dealing with medical marijuana, it is likely that many people will shy away from medical marijuana as a treatment because of cheaper treatment alternatives that would be covered under their insurance policies.