SSQ Insurance announced Sept. 20 that it will be offering group plan members a new option as of Jan.1, 2019 – coverage of medical cannabis expenses.
"This coverage, in compliance with federal law on medical marijuana use, is for those for whom traditional prescription drugs have been deemed ineffective," said Éric Trudel, Senior Vice-President, Strategies and Product Management at SSQ Insurance.
To control group insurance costs, eligibility for coverage of medical cannabis purchases will be subject to certain conditions determined by the insurer and prior authorization from SSQ will be required.
The insurer specified that medical cannabis “will be covered only when used to treat or relieve one of the following medical conditions when standard pharmacological treatments have not worked: chronic neuropathic pain; cancer related pain; apasticity secondary to multiple sclerosis or spinal cord injury and nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy.”
In addition, the medical cannabis must be prescribed by an authorized physician or nurse and purchased solely from a licensed vendor authorized by Health Canada.
With this announcement, SSQ has joined a growing list of insurers that now cover medical cannabis, including Manulife, Sun Life and Desjardins Insurance.