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Medical Marijuana Unlikely to Be Covered in Health Plans

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Medical marijuana and healthcare reform are both hot topics, but the odds are against medical-marijuana users getting reimbursed by their health plans for purchases of the drug.

The Associated Press reported Oct. 20 that while the federal government has eased off enforcement of drug laws against medical-marijuana users, the group America's Health Insurance Plans is not aware of any health plans that cover medical marijuana.

Experts say that the biggest roadblock to coverage is the fact that medical use of marijuana is not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). And the FDA is unlikely to approve marijuana because it is not a synthesized drug, and is hard to assess because its composition can vary greatly. Dosage size also would have to be standardized in order for FDA to approve the drug.

Bruce Mirken of the Marijuana Policy Project said there has been little action taken to get the drug approved by the FDA or covered by health plans. “Right now we're still focused on the legal issues,” he said.

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