Cannabidiol, also known as CBD, is derived from the hemp plant and is an active ingredient of marijuana. Although CBD is a compound in marijuana, it does not get you “high” like marijuana. However, it does provide other benefits. CBD has become heavily used as a natural remedy across the nation, but it is not legal in all 50 states. There are many different types of CBD products, such as CBD oil, vapes, and gummies. Many of America’s senior citizens use CBD and wonder if Medicare will cover CBD products if it is legal in their state. Let’s first discuss the benefits of CBD and how it can help you.
Benefits of CBD
CBD products are not meant for everyone as CBD can have side effects, such as drowsiness, fatigue, dry mouth, or loss of appetite. If you do not experience the adverse side effects of CBD, you will likely find that CBD provides many positive benefits.
CBD is known to help with inflammation, muscle pain, insomnia, anxiety, depression and can even help reduce acne. Seniors are prone to underlying health conditions as they age, which is why many take advantage of CBD products to help manage their symptoms.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 25% of American seniors 65 years and older have diabetes, and 5.8 million seniors have had Alzheimer’s disease. Studies have shown CBD products can help prevent diabetes and even prevent social recognition in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease.
Medicare is America’s national insurance program for those who are 65 years and older and for those who qualify earlier due to disability. Medicare comes in two parts: Part A covers inpatient services, and Part B covers outpatient care. Medicare covers any service that is deemed and coded as medically necessary by a physician. Medically necessary is defined as any healthcare service or supplies needed to help diagnose or treat an injury, disease, condition, or illness.
As mentioned, Medicare Part A covers inpatient care. For example, Part A will cover a semi-private hospital room, three meals a day, and any required lab services during an inpatient stay. Part A will also cover skilled nursing, hospice, and short-term home health care.
Part B is outpatient coverage for preventative services, such as doctor’s visits, ambulance rides, select vaccinations, and durable medical equipment. However, Medicare does not cover prescription medications or routine dental, vision, and hearing services.
CBD products and Medicare
CBD products have yet to be approved by the FDA and are not federally legal across the nation. Due to this, Medicare will not cover any form of CBD. To this day, CBD is labeled as a Schedule 1 drug by the United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), as it contains THC.
Since CBD has not been federally legalized, it would be against the law for Medicare or other medical insurance companies to cover CBD products. Therefore, if you were to purchase any CBD product, you will pay the total price out of pocket.
Epidiolex, a drug that contains CBD, is FDA-approved for treatment for seizures for patients with Lenox-Gastaut and Dravet (two rare forms of epilepsy). Medicare Part D is solely prescription drug coverage. If you enroll in a Part D plan or Medicare Advantage plan that lists Epidiolex on the plan’s drug formulary, then this medication would be covered by your plan. But, since Medicare does not cover prescriptions, Medicare itself will not cover Epidiolex.
Medicare covers many inpatient and outpatient services that are deemed medically necessary by a physician. But, Medicare has yet to consider CBD products as a proper diagnosis or treatment for an injury, disease, condition, or illness. Whether you purchase CBD oil, vapes, or gummies, expect to pay the total cost out of pocket in the store in the meantime.