Blue Cross Plans
Blue Cross Plans are a collection of non-profit benefits carriers that work across the Canada. The sub-organizations of blue cross plans can be divided into five categories by geographical area based on provincial divisions:
- The Alberta Blue Cross: Covers Alberta and the Northwestern Territories
- The Medavie Blue Cross: Covering New Brunswick, New Foundland, Nova Scotia, Quebec and Prince Edward Island.
- The Manitoba Blue Cross: Covering Manitoba and Nunavut.
- The Pacific Blue Cross: Covering British Columbia and Yukon.
- The Saskatchewan Blue Cross: Covering Saskatchewan.
The Manitoba Blue Cross, The Pacific Blue Cross and the Saskatchewan Blue Cross do not offer coverage for Medical Marijuana, however the Medavie and Alberta Blue Cross do. Most areas in Canada are covered by blue cross foundation with the exception of British Columbia, Yukon, Manitoba, Nunavut and Saskatchewan.
Alberta Blue Cross
The Alberta Blue Cross offers group benefits plans to employers. Upon being offered coverage under the plan by an employer, the beneficiaries are signed up for an Employees Health Spending Account under which they can file claims for medical marijuana.
Alberta Blue Cross does not specify conditions under which coverage members will qualify for medical marijuana benefits, leaving the regulation of the coverage plan to be decided during negotiations with your employer.
If you work for an organization that is covered by the Alberta Blue Cross, you may ask your employer to provide coverage for medical marijuana and the conditions under which the plan ought to be applicable to you.
The Alberta Blue Cross asks beneficiaries to comply with all the stipulations for the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes regulations such as:
- The cannabis must be bought from a licensed dealer
- The members of the plan must have an authorization form.
Further regulations include:
- Members may be asked to submit a history of medical conditions and treatments.
- Provide evidence from a doctor stating that the condition will in fact be effectively treated by the use of marijuana.
The rules that apply to coverage for medical cannabis/marijuana are the same as those that apply to health care plans that dictate the functioning of Health Spending Accounts.
To contact a representative of the Alberta Blue Cross, please visit this link. The Alberta Blue Cross has offices in Edmonton, Calgary, Grande Prairie, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat and Red Deer.
Medavie Blue Cross:
As of October 2018, the Medavie Blue Cross introduced a new Extended Health Care benefits plan that would cover expenses related to the procurement of medical marijuana. The plan is a group coverage plan for sponsors.
The plan takes the form of a reimbursement scheme for the purchase of:
- Fresh and Dried Cannabis
- Cannabis Oil
The Medavie Blue Cross does not offer coverage for any other cannabis based products. The sponsors are presented with multiple benefit schemes that they can implement, assuming that they have opted to cover employees for medical cannabis.
To qualify for reimbursement, members must submit authorization for use and possession of medical marijuana as stipulated by the clauses of the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes regulation. Members and sponsors also have to fill out this form to qualify for medical cannabis reimbursement.
The coverage is offered for the following conditions:
- Chronic Neuropathic Pain
- Refractory pain in palliative cancer
- Nausea and Vomiting due to Chemotherapy
- Spasticity in multiple sclerosis or spinal cord injury.
You may ask your sponsor to speak to Medavie Blue Cross sales representatives to avail the reimbursement benefits from the Medavie Blue Cross Extended Health Care Benefits plans. For information on how to reach out to representatives you may visit this link.
The Medavie Blue Cross has offices in Ontario, Quebec New Brunswick, New Foundland & Labrador and Nova Scotia; for addresses to each of these offices, you may visit this link.