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Desjardins adds medical cannabis option to its group insurance coverage

By Justine Montminy | August 30 2018 01:30PM

Desjardins Insurance has added medical cannabis coverage to its supplementary health care coverage for group insurance plans, says an announcement distributed to the insurer’s sales force.

Plan members will be required to obtain a prescription for medical cannabis from an authorized health professional and purchase it from a producer authorized by Health Canada. Members and their dependents must be 21 years of age or older.

The option is available to regular plan sponsors who will be able to choose an annual maximum between $ 1,500 and $ 6,000. However, PerformPlus groups are excluded from this service offer.

Diseases and symptoms covered

Coverage will include expenses related to the treatment of illnesses and the relief of a number of symptoms, namely, pain related to advanced cancer, refractory neuralgia, nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy, and spasticity caused by multiple sclerosis or a lesion of the spinal cord. Desjardins will apply a pre-authorization process to any request for coverage of this product related to these diseases and symptoms.

The insurer does not exclude the possibility of adding diseases and symptoms covered to its list in the future.

Health Spending Account

Desjardins has offered medical cannabis coverage via its Health Spending Account (HSA) since 2016. A letter to advisors said the use of HSA to cover medical cannabis will remain possible.

Desjardins is following in the footsteps of Manulife and Sun Life Financial, who added medical cannabis coverage to their group insurance plans earlier this year.

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