How do You Handle Medical Marijuana Treatment for WorkComp Claims?

Written by on 3/13/2017 2:28 AM in , , . It has 1 Comments.

California’s Proposition 64 and others like it have the workman's compensation insurance industry – and employers - scratching their collective heads. As the marijuana legalization trend continues to open up access to the drug nationwide, from medical to recreational use, the implications for the industry are, in many cases, still undetermined.

Compelled Compensation
Monitoring this developing area of the law and its practical impacts on safety and claims, the industry finds itself in uncharted waters. Pushed to provide coverage and payment for a drug as yet classified as “Schedule I” by the federal U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, insurers in states where its medicinal use has been legalized cannot be legally required to pay for it.

A Multi-Faceted Issue
As legalization loses its reputation for association with all but the most serious health issues, the floodgates may soon open for injured workers who view it as a viable option, including pain patients scared by the nation’s continuing prescription opioid epidemic. The flipside: Considering how use of the drug will affect compensation following subsequent work-related injuries of both medicinal and recreational users. Other considerations: Potential legal red tape and/or lawsuits involving the enforcement of drug-free workplace policies and the potential for costly retaliation and discrimination claims.

Destination: Unknown
As increasingly greater pressure is put on workers’ comp doctors, new laws are sure to go on the books forcing the issue, including a resolution of the current conflict between state and federal levels of government on legalization. When, you may ask, is anybody's guess.

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