New Mexico Lawsuit Seeks Insurance Coverage for Medical Cannabis



A New Mexico hashish company and a team of six health-related marijuana patients have filed a class-motion lawsuit that seeks insurance coverage protection for medicinal hashish. The legal motion was filed on Friday in Albuquerque point out district court docket, with the plaintiffs arguing that professional medical cannabis need to be covered due to the fact it is a valid behavioral health and fitness services.

The plaintiffs in the fit are New Mexico Top rated Organics-Extremely Health and fitness and 6 healthcare hashish individuals including point out Sen. Jacob Candelaria. Documents filed in the case observe that Candelaria has been a healthcare cannabis client due to the fact 2019, when his health practitioner suggested that he use medicinal hashish to handle submit-traumatic worry problem immediately after antidepressants failed to present reduction. Candelaria pays amongst $500 and $1,000 for each thirty day period out of pocket for his treatment mainly because his insurer, Blue Cross and Blue Defend of New Mexico, fails to cover professional medical hashish for its clients, according to the lawsuit.

With the authorized action, the plaintiffs in the scenario are seeking “recovery for themselves, and for every single other likewise positioned behavioral or psychological wellbeing patient unlawfully subjected to spending for the complete expense of medically necessary hashish, in violation of condition regulation.”

The lawsuit names Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Mexico, Legitimate Wellness New Mexico, Cigna Wellness and Everyday living Insurance Co., Molina Health care of New Mexico, Presbyterian Health Approach, Presbyterian Insurance plan Co. and Western Sky Local community Treatment as defendants in the legal action. The lawsuit is based mostly on legislation passed past calendar year, Senate Monthly bill 317, which involves insurers to include 100% of the costs for behavioral wellness products and services, together with remedies recommended for behavioral overall health ailments. The evaluate was handed in April 2021 and went into result on January 1 of this year.

“The concept of wellbeing insurance policies designs paying for health care cannabis might feel like an unachievable aspiration, but all the foundational elements have already fallen into position,” Ultra Well being president and CEO Duke Rodriguez reported in a assertion to the Albuquerque Journal on Monday. “Revolutionizing behavioral wellbeing care in New Mexico will acquire only a couple modest methods, instead than a large leap.”

February Letter Sought Protection for Healthcare Hashish in New Mexico

In February, Ultra Wellness despatched a letter to insurers and the Office of the Superintendent of Insurance coverage in search of coverage for clinical hashish suggested to take care of behavioral overall health ailments. The letter included knowledge offered by the New Mexico Section of Well being in April that signifies of the 134,307 patients enrolled in the state health care cannabis program, 73,000 have been identified with PTSD.

“Ultra Wellness acknowledges that the thought of health and fitness insurers paying for health care hashish may possibly look novel at first blush,” the firm wrote in its letter to Presbyterian Health care Products and services. 

“However,” the letter proceeds, “it is truly a rational, reasonable idea when viewed as in gentle of other New Mexico law. New Mexico presently involves workers compensation insurers to pay back for health-related hashish, and New Mexico by now treats clinical cannabis the exact same as conventional prescription drugs. The point that health and fitness insurers should—and will—pay for clinical cannabis is not groundbreaking at this place. It is the up coming sensible step, and it is a little move, not a large leap.”

Accurate Wellness New Mexico and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Mexico declined to remark on the circumstance, according to media reports. Molina Healthcare of New Mexico, Western Sky Neighborhood Treatment and Cigna did not promptly reply to requests for commentary. Presbyterian Health and fitness Program and Presbyterian Insurance coverage Co., which are overseen by the exact management team, also declined to remark on the case but issued a statement on the companies’ policies.

“Presbyterian Health Program is committed to making sure that New Mexicans can entry the behavioral wellness products and services they need,” spokeswoman Melanie Mozes reported. “We have not but been served with the lawsuit and will reserve comment for the suitable location.”

Rodriquez mentioned that the lawsuit was filed soon after the insurers and point out regulators unsuccessful to respond to the letter despatched in February. He also noted that other clients who have been impacted by the insurers’ failure to deal with health-related hashish approved as a behavioral well being remedy are welcome to be part of the lawful motion.

“There will be far more people determined who have been harmed by insurers not lawfully abiding to the statutory responsibility of getting rid of any value sharing relevant to behavioral overall health solutions,” Rodriguez said. “Insurers have not acted in excellent religion.”

In an interview, Candelaria said that medical hashish has served him cope with PTSD and positively influenced his lifetime. He added that he joined the authorized motion to enable all “New Mexicans who are having difficulties to spend for their well being care.”

“Senate Bill 317 was transformational,” Candelaria mentioned. “This go well with, you know, it gets vital to actually make that transformation transpire.”