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Will workers’ compensation cover medical marijuana?

| Jun 7, 2019 | Workers' Compensation |

Medical marijuana users are constantly walking a tightrope because marijuana may be legal on (some) state levels, but it’s still illegal federally.

That often put medical marijuana users at odds with insurance companies and employers alike. Their quasi-legal status is complicated, to say the least.

So, what about when an injured worker is prescribed medical marijuana in connection with a work injury? The drug — while not as expensive as some — is certainly more costly for patients coming from a dispensary than cheaper alternatives like oxycodone or Percocet gotten from a drug store and covered by insurance.

Well, in a mid-2018 ruling, a New Jersey judge held that an employer is liable for the cost of any medically appropriate treatment for an employee’s work injuries — including medical marijuana. This is a game-changer for many injured workers.

Unlike many other states, New Jersey’s workers’ comp system doesn’t have a statutory fee schedule when it comes to reimbursements for medical expenses. Instead, the statute provides that “fees and other charges…shall be reasonable and based upon the usual fees and charges which prevail in the same community.”

Just the same, insurers do still have some gray areas to exploit — and they likely will. The same statute also states that judges can essentially decide on what to reimburse on a case-by-case basis, which means that some injured workers may have an easier time than others getting their medical marijuana covered by workers’ comp.

If you’re an injured worker in Morristown or the surrounding area, and you’re having trouble getting your medical expenses reimbursed through workers’ comp, you don’t have to handle the fight alone. Find out more about your legal options today.