With the rise of medical cannabis as a treatment option for individuals injured in automobile accidents, many automobile insurers are faced with increasing claims to pay for these expenses. If a qualified regulated health professional is recommending treatment with medical cannabis, there are key approaches to consider to have the accident benefits insurer support funding.
• The recommendation for medical cannabis must be supported by a qualified physician.
• The treatment of medical cannabis must be related to injuries or impairments sustained from the motor vehicle accident.
• The treatment of medical cannabis must be ‘reasonable and necessary’. In accordance with the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule, Insurers must pay for all reasonable and necessary medication expenses incurred by or on behalf of the insured person as a result of the accident. This is subject to available policy limits for medical and rehabilitation expenses.
When submitting a claim for medical cannabis under automobile accident benefits, it is necessary to have the required license from Health Canada to obtain cannabis for medical purposes. In addition, it is necessary to obtain the medical cannabis only from authorized licensed producers for medical purposes. A list of these producers can be found on the Health Canada website.
As claims for medical cannabis increase, insurance companies are frequently requesting documentation to support these expenses. They may request a copy of the Health Canada licence and purchase receipts, to show that the person is complying with the license and only obtaining the medical cannabis from authorized sources. Often, insurers will also require a copy of the physician referral or clinical notes and records related to the recommendation of medical cannabis.
As the legitimacy of treatment of medical cannabis grows, so does the acceptance and willingness of insurance companies to fund these expenses. Although not always straightforward, it can be made much easier with proper education and communication with insurance companies, especially at the adjuster level.
About the Authors
Bill joined Oatley Vigmond in 2008, bringing with him extensive and varied experience working in the fields of rehabilitation and insurance. Now, he’s responsible for helping clients obtain accident benefits from their own car insurance company. He also helps assemble a reliable community rehabilitation and long-term care team for our clients.