Does Medicare Cover The Cost of Medical Marijuana?



Q: If my doctor suggests medical marijuana, will Medicare cover the cost?

A: The short answer is: no.

Cannabis, while legal in Florida as medical marijuana, is still illegal according to the federal government and has not been cleared by the Food and Drug Administration.

It is likely that your current primary care physician cannot prescribe it for you and the costs will NOT be covered by your Medicare prescription drug coverage.

Brenda Lyle is a Certified Care Manager for One Senior Place, Greater Orlando.

Cannabis has been used medicinally by some cultures since ancient times.

In Florida, voters approved the Florida Medical Marijuana Legalization Initiative (Amendment 2) in 2016.

After subsequent passage by the Senate, the Florida Department of Health created the Office of Medical Marijuana to regulate its prescribing and distribution.

The amendment allowed the use of medical marijuana for patients diagnosed with ALS, cancer, Crohn’s disease, epilepsy, glaucoma, HIV / AIDS, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, PTSD , chronic non-malignant pain and terminal illnesses with less than two years to live.

Initially permitted in a limited form, medical marijuana became legal to smoke in 2019.

The prescribing and distribution of medical marijuana is highly regulated.

Qualified physicians undergo special training in order to prescribe it and must be enrolled in the Florida Medical Marijuana Use Registry.

Only these physicians can determine a patient’s eligibility to receive an identification card from the Medical Marijuana Use Registry.

This identity card is required by the dispensary as well as a prescription from a qualified doctor.

The flower bud trichomes of female cannabis plants hold medicinal power, producing a resin that contains healing cannabinoids.

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The doctor’s prescription controls the type, amount, and frequency of medical marijuana for the desired result.

As with any medication, it is important that patients work closely with their doctor to achieve optimal results with minimal side effects.

Currently there are 52 dispensaries in the Central Florida region with names like Surterra, Curaleaf, and Trulieve. These dispensaries sell medical marijuana in all of its legal forms in Florida, including flower buds, vapes, oils, tinctures, edibles, and even drops.

Patients can change the form of medical marijuana they receive, according to their prescription.

Dyeing? Edible? Clinic assistants are trained to help patients with these decisions.

Patients who need help with administration can register a caregiver – who must also obtain an ID card from the registry.

While Medicare does not cover medical marijuana under Part “D” prescription drug coverage, it will cover certain FDA-approved cannabinoid drugs (check with your Part D provider to see which drugs they cover).

For more information on medical marijuana, stop by One Senior Place in Viera or Altamonte Springs or call 321-751-6771.

One Senior Place is a resource marketplace and provider of on-site information, advice, care and services for seniors and their families. Questions in this section are answered by professionals in nursing, social work, care management and home care. Send your questions to [email protected], call 321-751-6771 or visit One Senior Place, The Experts in Aging.

Brenda Lyle is a Certified Care Manager and Certified Dementia Practitioner at One Senior Place, Greater Orlando.


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