Will Medicare Cover Marijuana?

Will Medicare Cover Marijuana?

I have a live call in radio show every Thursday at 7:00 pm EST on Oldies station in Palm Beach Florida where anyone can ask me questions about medicare, senior health care options, and more. To listen in go to On the upper right on the homepage you will see a listen live button. Just click on that button and you can listen to the Mr. Medicare show live every Thursday at 7:00 pm EST. A caller on last Thursday’s show ask the question, “Will Medicare cover marijuana?” He explained that he has neuropathy and that marijuana is the only thing that alleviates his pain.

Over the years many of my Medicare clients have told me they use marijuana on a regular basis to help them with a variety of issues. It is true that many states have laws that approve medical marijuana use and in some states recreational marijuana use. I have been told that once you get a prescription for use, you can go to a state licensed dispensary. There is a cost for the doctor to write the prescription and another cost to purchase the prescribed marijuana.

I understand that many people are using marijuana to alleviate a myriad of ailments and conditions. If they reside in a state where they can legally get marijuana, that is what they do. Some people have told me they travel to a neighboring state to get what they need if their state has not yet approved marijuana for medical use or recreational use. I believe that over time, many states will also have laws on the books that will allow for medical and recreational marijuana use.

As long as people have access to marijuana to alleviate their pain, they are going to do what they need to deal with their issues. I am not giving an opinion as to whether marijuana should be approved or not. I am dealing with the situation as it is and how it will change over the years.

As to the question if Medicare will cover the cost of marijuana, the answer is no. The federal government lists marijuana as an illegal substance. Even if you reside in a state where marijuana usage is legal Medicare will not, at this time, pay for your costs. I believe that as more states allow marijuana use that at some point, the federal government will also remove marijuana from their list of illegal substances.

Until that time comes, if you want things to move faster, people need to take up the call to legalize marijuana use at the federal level. Once that happens, the next step will be for CMS and HHS to change the Medicare prescription drug system to pay the costs for marijuana use through the Medicare system. It will only happen when our elected officials hear from the people who vote for them, that they want this issue resolved. It is up to you. If you want Medicare to pay for marijuana, you need to let your representatives and senators know that it is time to change the current Medicare system to allow marijuana use. It is up to you.