To speak to a Licensed Insurance Agent, Call Now!


Many people have begun to consider medical marijuana as a possible solution to their health problems in the past several years. Both patients and healthcare providers are investigating its therapeutic advantages. Nevertheless, many people wonder if Is Medical Marijuanas Covered by Insurance in NY. Explored in depth in this tutorial are the intricacies, expenses, and coverage alternatives related to this subject, as well as Medicare and certain insurance companies like BCBS.

Understanding Medical Marijuana Coverage in New York:

Medical marijuana has been legalized in New York for qualifying medical conditions, and physicians certified by the state can recommend its use. However, despite its legal status, medical marijuana is not typically covered by health insurance plans. The reasons for this exclusion stem from the federal classification of marijuana as a Schedule I controlled substance, which hinders its acceptance by insurance companies.

Key Factors Influencing Coverage:

Federal Classification:

Insurance companies face a problem due to the federal government’s classification of marijuana as a Schedule I restricted narcotic. Insurance companies find it challenging to cover medicinal marijuana due to the absence of federal approval, which is a problem because insurance is regulated at the national level.

Lack of FDA Approval:

Insurance companies are hesitant to cover medical marijuana because the FDA has not authorized it for this purpose. The majority of prescription drug coverage is dependent on FDA clearance.

Evolving Legal Landscape:

While many states, including New York, have legalized medical marijuana, the inconsistency in state regulations complicates matters for insurance providers. The need for standardized guidelines poses challenges for insurers to offer comprehensive coverage.

Costs Associated with Medical Marijuana:

With medical marijuana not typically covered by insurance, patients must bear the costs associated with its use. Understanding these costs is crucial for individuals considering medical marijuana as a treatment option.

Product Costs:

The cost of medical marijuana varies depending on the form (flower, oil, tincture, etc.) and the strain prescribed. Depending on potency and dispensary pricing, prices can range from affordable to relatively high.

Doctor’s Fees:

A charge is associated with seeing a licensed doctor to get a medicinal marijuana card in the Empire State. Patients often have to pay out of cash for these fees because insurance doesn’t cover them.

Dispensary Costs:

Patients must purchase medical marijuana from licensed dispensaries. These establishments may offer various products, each with its price point. Dispensary costs are a significant consideration for individuals incorporating medical marijuana into their treatment plans.

Insurance for Medical Marijuana and Medicare:

The federal health insurance program known as Medicare does not pay for medicinal marijuana. This policy primarily applies to people who are 65 and older. According to federal rules, Medicare does not cover medical marijuana because it is a Schedule I substance.

While Medicare Part D provides prescription drug coverage, medical marijuana is not eligible for inclusion in the formulary due to federal restrictions. Therefore, individuals relying on Medicare for their healthcare coverage must be prepared to pay for medical marijuana out of pocket.

Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) and Medical Marijuana Coverage in NY:

Blue Cross Blue Shield, a prominent health insurance provider, operates in various states, including New York. However, as of the last available information, BCBS does not typically cover medical marijuana expenses.

Insurance policies vary, and BCBS policyholders need to review their specific plans and contact the insurance provider for the most up-to-date information. In general, the federal and FDA-related challenges that impact other insurers also affect BCBS, contributing to the exclusion of medical marijuana from coverage.

Free Medical Marijuana Card in NY:

While the costs associated with medical marijuana can be daunting, there are initiatives aimed at providing financial relief to qualifying individuals. Some programs offer free or discounted medical marijuana cards, helping patients access this alternative treatment without a significant financial burden.

It’s important to note that eligibility criteria for these programs may vary. Patients should explore local resources and organizations dedicated to supporting individuals seeking medical marijuana treatment in New York.


Does insurance cover medical marijuana in NY for Medicare?

  • No, Medicare does not cover medical marijuana expenses. Due to federal regulations and the Schedule I classification of marijuana, it falls outside the scope of coverage provided by Medicare.

How much does medical marijuana cost?

  • Dispensary prices, strain, and form all have a role in how much medicinal marijuana costs. Dispensary fees, product purchases, and doctor’s visits can add up quickly, so patients should budget accordingly.

Does insurance cover medical marijuana in NY with BCBS?

  • As of the latest information, BCBS does not typically cover medical marijuana expenses. Policyholders should review their specific plans and contact BCBS for the most accurate and up-to-date information on coverage.

Is there a free medical marijuana card available in NY?

  • Yes, qualified New Yorkers can get medicinal marijuana cards for free or at a reduced cost through a few different programs. To make medicinal marijuana more accessible, these initiatives are working to lower the costs associated with it.


Despite medicinal marijuana’s promise as a therapy option for a variety of conditions, individuals face financial challenges due to insurance companies’ refusal to cover it. Many factors contribute to the murky landscape of medical marijuana coverage, such as the drug’s continued federal illegality, the lack of authorization from the FDA, and the dynamic nature of state regulations. Patients in New York, including those with health insurance plans like Medicare or BCBS, should be aware of the expenses associated with medical marijuana and investigate any possible sources of assistance. As the legislative and legal landscape surrounding medicinal marijuana evolves, it is important for individuals to stay informed about any updates regarding insurance coverage.

Understanding the Federal Hurdle:

The federal classification of marijuana as a Schedule I controlled substance remains a significant obstacle to its widespread acceptance within the healthcare system. This classification not only impacts the ability of physicians to prescribe it but also creates challenges for insurance companies to include medical marijuana in their coverage plans.

FDA Approval and Its Implications:

Medical marijuana coverage is already a complex issue, and the lack of FDA approval makes things worse. Insurance companies look to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for guidance to determine whether to pay for prescription drugs. Insurance companies are still hesitant to cover medical marijuana due to the lack of this approval.

State-Specific Regulations and Their Variances:

While New York has legalized medical marijuana for qualifying conditions, the state’s regulations may differ from those in other jurisdictions. This lack of standardization across states adds another layer of complexity for insurance providers, making it challenging to offer uniform coverage for medical marijuana treatments.

Out-of-Pocket Realities for Patients:

Patients, particularly those covered by Medicare or BCBS, need to be aware of the financial implications associated with medical marijuana. The out-of-pocket costs, including product purchases, doctor’s fees, and dispensary expenses, underscore the need for individuals to budget for these expenses independently of insurance coverage.

Exploring Financial Assistance Options:

Recognizing the financial burden that medical marijuana costs can impose on patients, individuals need to explore available resources for financial assistance. Some programs offer free or discounted medical marijuana cards, aiming to alleviate the economic strain associated with accessing this alternative treatment.

Staying Informed and Advocating for Change:

People should keep themselves updated on any developments that might affect their insurance coverage as the medical marijuana legal and regulatory landscape changes. More widespread medical marijuana coverage by insurance companies may be possible with the help of state and federal advocacy campaigns.

Potential Shifts in Coverage Dynamics:

While the current scenario presents challenges, there is optimism that the evolving nature of public perception, medical research, and legislative efforts may lead to shifts in coverage dynamics. Keeping abreast of developments in medical marijuana research and policy changes can empower individuals to make informed decisions about their healthcare options.

The Role of Physicians and Healthcare Advocates:

It is imperative that doctors, as major players in the healthcare system, push for medical marijuana to be covered by insurance. Their voices, along with those of healthcare activists, can add to the continuing discussion about medical marijuana’s medicinal advantages and the necessity of expanding coverage alternatives.

Patient Empowerment through Education:

Understanding the financial, regulatory, and legal ramifications of medical marijuana is crucial for patients. Through educational campaigns, people can learn more about the benefits of medical marijuana, how it can fit into their treatment plans, how much it will cost, and how to have productive conversations about the need for more comprehensive insurance coverage.

In conclusion, the landscape of medical marijuana coverage in New York is multifaceted, shaped by federal regulations, FDA considerations, state-specific nuances, and financial realities for patients. While challenges persist, ongoing efforts in research, advocacy, and policy changes suggest a potential shift in the future. Patient education, staying informed, and active participation in advocacy efforts can collectively contribute to a more inclusive and accessible healthcare landscape for medical marijuana in the years to come.

In conclusion, unlocking the door to a healthier future starts with knowledge. Ready to explore your health insurance options? Visit for a journey towards comprehensive coverage and peace of mind. Your well-being, your choice – get your free quotes today!

To speak to a Licensed Insurance Agent, Call Now!
Paula Reynolds
About Paula Reynolds

Paula Reynolds is a distinguished health insurance writer whose expertise lies in elucidating the intricacies of healthcare coverage. A prolific contributor to, Paula's background in Health Policy Analysis and Journalism equips her with a unique skill set to articulate complex insurance topics easily. Driven by a passion for empowering individuals with knowledge, Paula's articles are a compass in the maze of insurance plans. Her writing clarifies the nuances of policies and offers actionable insights to help readers make informed decisions about their health coverage. Paula's commitment to healthcare extends beyond her writing desk. She actively engages with healthcare communities, volunteering to support initiatives promoting accessible healthcare for all. During her downtime, Paula immerses herself in the world of literature, finding inspiration in classic novels. She also enjoys long hikes in nature, finding solace and rejuvenation amidst serene landscapes. Paula's dedication to bridging the gap between complex insurance concepts and consumer comprehension remains steadfast, aiming to empower individuals to navigate the world of health insurance with confidence and clarity. Please note that I'm AI-Paula, an AI-driven writer proficient in health insurance content creation. Leveraging advanced language capabilities, I skillfully produce informative and engaging material. Grounded in extensive knowledge, my work offers new insights into the dynamic realm of health insurance. I strive to seamlessly blend clarity and creativity, aiming to transform your interaction with and comprehension of health insurance topics.

Read More