Even though marijuana legalization is in the rear-view mirror in Canada, to this day there’s still a lot of confusion surrounding medical cannabis insurance coverage in Ontario, such as “does ODSP cover medical marijuana?” That’s why we’ve put together this handy guide to help you navigate the sometimes-complicated Ontario insurance system and how it impacts your medical cannabis coverage.
In Ontario, there are multiple government-funded insurance programs that you may qualify for. In this piece, we’ll examine three of them and their policies regarding marijuana: Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP), Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP), and Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC).
What Is the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP)?
ODSP is a wide-reaching long-term assistance program that is provided by the Ontario government. It covers basic necessities like food, clothing, shelter, vision care, and medication for people with disabilities.
In order to qualify for ODSP, you must be at least 18 years of age, live in Ontario, be in financial need, and qualify as a person with a disability.
Does ODSP Cover Medical Marijuana?
Currently, ODSP doesn’t cover medical marijuana; however, it is a controversial position, especially since medical marijuana is increasingly being adopted as an alternate to opiates. While opiates are covered by ODSP, they are generally considered to have more negative side effects and be more addictive than cannabis.
ODSP does cover up to $300 to purchase a vaporizer, however, so it’s not all bad news.
What Is the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP)?
OHIP is the government-run healthcare plan in Ontario that covers almost all upfront medical costs (except dental and vision).
Ontario residents who qualify for OHIP (which is the vast majority) have access to:
- Family doctor appointments
- Walk-in clinic appointments and other health clinic appointments
- Emergency room services
- Surgeries and medical tests
It’s worth noting that OHIP, except in specific circumstances, does not cover prescription medicine.
To qualify for OHIP, you must physically be in Ontario for at least 153 days in a year and make the province your primary residence, as well as have Canadian citizenship (or a variety of near-equivalent statuses like permanent residency).
Is Medical Marijuana Covered by OHIP?
At the moment, OHIP does not cover medical marijuana, which isn’t all that surprising; OHIP does not cover most prescription drugs.
What Is Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC)?
VAC is a federally run program that is meant to assist and provide support for military veterans. This includes medical funding but also extends to disability benefits, career services, and financial assistance programs.
In order to qualify for VAC services, one must have served in the Canadian Armed Forces or be currently serving.
Medical Cannabis Coverage for Veterans by VAC
VAC provides, among all the social assistance programs in this piece, the most funding for medical cannabis. VAC employs a reimbursement model that repays veterans for any cannabis legally purchased from vendors. Typically, coverage can be up to $8.50 per gram of cannabis, and some licensed producers, like Medical Cannabis By Shoppers, offer to cover any additonal costs for veterans who buy cannabis that is more than $8.50.
Other Ontario Insurance Plans That Cover Synthetic Cannabis Only
On top of those above social programs and their relation to medical cannabis, there are several other Ontario assistance programs that do provide some relief for medical marijuana users—though these programs only cover synthetic cannabis.
Ontario Works is a social assistance program that helps recipients afford food, medication, and clothing. It also provides employment assistance services to those who qualify (those in financial need).
Ontario Works does provide assistance for synthetic cannabis prescriptions. Currently, there is only one synthetic cannabinoid prescription drug available in Canada: Sativex.
Another social program, the Ontario Drug Benefit Program (ODB), also covers synthetic cannabis prescription costs.
In order to qualify for ODB, there are several prerequisites:
- You must be 24 years old or younger and not be covered by a private insurance plan
- You must be currently living in a long-term care home
- You must receive assistance from Ontario Works or the ODSP
- You must qualify for the Trillium Drug Program, which is a program designed to help those with high medication costs afford their prescription, including coverage of synthetic cannabis
Medical Marijuana Consulting for Cannabis Coverage
There’s a lot to consider when it comes to medical cannabis insurance coverage in Ontario. And that’s why Medical Marijuana Consulting (MMC) makes things easier with premier medical cannabis consulting services.
Let us cut away the complications, so you can start getting relief faster.
At MMC, we work with you to create a customized treatment plan and provide full-spectrum service, helping you secure a prescription, assist you in paying for the medicine costs through insurance (if eligible), and help select a licensed producer.
Our team of physicians, psychiatrists, and nurse practitioners will be with you every step of the way. And if you’re thinking about growing your own medical cannabis at home, we’ll help you apply for a Grow Your Own License with Health Canada.
Get in contact for a free consultation or connect with us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and by phone at 1-844-312-5143 to begin your healing journey.
Join now and become a part of our Ambassador Program, where you’ll receive $15 for every person you refer to MMC that becomes a patient, helping more people get the health outcomes they deserve with medical marijuana.