The New York Senate approved a bill on Wednesday that would require public health insurance programs to cover medical marijuana expenses and clarify that private insurers are allowed to do the same. The legislation, sponsored by Diane Savino (D), moved through two committees before passing the Senate by a vote of 53-10, and it’s now been transmitted to the Assembly, where it awaits action in the Ways & Means Committee. SB S8837 would amend state public health and social services statutes to address one of the most significant barriers to patient access to medical cannabis: the out-of-pocket cost of the medicine. It would achieve that by defining medical marijuana as a “prescription drug,” “covered drug” or “health care service” under the relevant codes so that public health insurance providers, including Medicaid and workers compensation, would be mandated to provide coverage. For private, commercial insurers, however, cannabis coverage would be optional.
Kyle Jaeger, Marijuana Moment, 06/02/2022 14:55:00