With premium dried weed costing as much as $500 an ounce ever since the first dispensary opened seven years ago, Gurowitz’s worries are widely shared among the state program’s 58,000 participants, patient advocates say. As long as marijuana is illegal under federal law, no insurance company will cover it.
Now one state lawmaker said he’s working on legislation that would help minimize some of the financial burden.
State Sen. Joseph Vitale, D-Middlesex, said he’s drafting a bill that would enable state-funded programs to pick up some of the tab.
“Until the federal government gets its act together, we should be looking at what we can do” as a state," said Vitale, chairman of the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee.
He’s examining whether the laws governing the State Health Benefits Program and the State Health Education Program could be changed to allow coverage of medicinal cannabis. The Catastrophic Illness in Children Relief Fund — which helps families in all income brackets defray the costs of care not covered by insurance — is another option, Vitale said.