Great-West Life announced on March 1 that it has expanded its coverage of medical cannabis, including a new agreement with Shoppers Drug Mart Inc. to deliver its Medical Cannabis Coaching Program.
"Participating plan sponsors will now be better able to support their plan members who are prescribed medical cannabis for conditions relating to multiple sclerosis, cancer, HIV or AIDS, or symptoms related to palliative care, and their plan members will be directed to Shoppers Drug Mart Inc.'s Medical Cannabis Coaching Program, delivered through its Ontario-based call centre, to help them navigate strain selection and administration," says Bobby Currie, Pharmacist and Manager of Drug Strategy for Great-West Life.
Since medical cannabis is not available in retail pharmacies, the program will coordinate delivery to the plan member's home and offer case management support via check-ins, counselling, education and support by phone and e-mail, she says.
GWL has also expanded its optional medical cannabis coverage to its Pay-Direct Drug plans which represent the vast majority of the insurer’s drug plans, says Currie, noting that the insurer has offered medical cannabis coverage through healthcare spending accounts since 2009.
Reimbursement at the point of sale is currently available in Ontario only. Other provinces and territories are expected to soon follow, she says.