Bill Text: NJ S3406 | 2020-2021 | Regular Session | Introduced


Bill Title: Requires workers' compensation, PIP, and health insurance coverage for the medical use of cannabis under certain circumstances.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 1-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2021-02-04 - Introduced in the Senate, Referred to Senate Commerce Committee [S3406 Detail]

Download: New_Jersey-2020-S3406-Introduced.html

SENATE, No. 3406

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

219th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED FEBRUARY 4, 2021

 


 

Sponsored by:

Senator  JOSEPH F. VITALE

District 19 (Middlesex)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Requires workers' compensation, PIP, and health insurance coverage for the medical use of cannabis under certain circumstances.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

  


An Act concerning the medical use of cannabis and insurance coverage, amending P.L.2009, c.307, and supplementing various parts of the statutory law.

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.    Section 16 of P.L.2009, c.307 (C.24:6I-14) is amended to read as follows:

     16.  a.   Nothing in P.L.2009, c.307 (C.24:6I-1 et al.) or P.L.2015, c.158 (C.18A:40-12.22 et al.) shall be construed to require a government medical assistance program or private health insurer to reimburse a person for costs associated with the medical use of cannabis, or to restrict or otherwise affect the distribution, sale, prescribing, and dispensing of any product that has been approved for marketing as a prescription drug or device by the federal Food and Drug Administration.

     b.    Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection a. of this section, an employer or workers' compensation insurance carrier or private passenger automobile insurance carrier shall provide coverage for costs associated with the medical use of cannabis pursuant to P.L.     , c.   (C.       ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill) except that an employer or carrier shall not be required to provide coverage for costs associated with the medical use of cannabis upon intervention by the federal government to enforce the "Controlled Substances Act" (21 U.S.C. s.802 et seq.).

(cf: P.L.2019, c.153, s.22)

 

     2.    (New section)  The Legislature finds and declares that scientific data indicate that medical cannabis has significant medical value when used in the treatment of certain injuries and diseases, including pain relief, control of nausea and vomiting, and appetite stimulation.  Cannabis also has potential therapeutic value from effects such as anxiety reduction, sedation, and euphoria.  Scientific studies have found that cannabis is effective in relieving some of the symptoms of HIV/AIDS, cancer, glaucoma, and multiple sclerosis.  Other studies have suggested that medical cannabis legalization may lead to decreased prescription opioid abuse.

     Although medical cannabis has many useful therapeutic benefits, its use is limited because its costs are not covered by insurance.  By requiring coverage for medical cannabis under workers' compensation and private passenger automobile insurance, access to these benefits will be expanded.  Additionally, medical cannabis may lower costs for insurers by providing a more economical alternative to more expensive and risky drugs such as opioids.

     3.    (New section)    a.   Personal injury protection benefits provided pursuant to section 4 of P.L.1972, c.70 (C.39:6A-4) or section 4 of P.L.1998, c.21 (C.39:6A-3.1) shall include coverage for costs associated with the medical use of cannabis provided that the insured is a qualifying patient authorized for the medical use of cannabis pursuant to P.L.2009, c.307 (C.24:6I-1 et al).

     b.    A private passenger automobile insurer shall not be required to provide coverage for costs associated with the medical use of cannabis upon intervention by the federal government to enforce the "Controlled Substances Act" (21 U.S.C. s.802 et seq.).

     c.     Notwithstanding any provision of the insurance policy to the contrary, if for any reason payment by the insurer to the medical cannabis dispensary is not feasible, the insurer shall remit directly to the insured the costs for any benefits associated with the medical use of cannabis upon proof of payment by the insured to the medical cannabis dispensary.

 

     4.    (New section)  a.  Workers' compensation benefits paid by any employer or a workers' compensation insurance carrier of an employer for an injury to an employee under R.S.34:15-1 et seq. shall include coverage for costs associated with the medical use of cannabis provided that the employee is a qualifying patient authorized for the medical use of cannabis pursuant to P.L.2009, c.307 (C.24:6I-1 et al).

     b.    An employer or workers' compensation insurance carrier shall not be required to provide coverage for costs associated with the medical use of cannabis upon intervention by the federal government to enforce the "Controlled Substances Act" (21 U.S.C. s.802 et seq.).

     c.     Notwithstanding any provision of the employer's plan or insurance policy to the contrary, if for any reason payment by the employer or carrier to the medical cannabis dispensary is not feasible, the employer or carrier shall remit directly to the employee the costs for any benefits associated with the medical use of cannabis upon proof of payment by the employee to the medical cannabis dispensary.

 

      5.   (New section)   a.   A carrier that offers a health benefits plan in this State shall provide coverage for costs associated with the medical use of cannabis provided that the covered person is a qualifying patient authorized for the medical use of cannabis pursuant to P.L.2009, c.307 (C.24:6I-1 et al).

      b.   A carrier shall not be required to provide coverage for costs associated with the medical use of cannabis upon intervention by the federal government to enforce the "Controlled Substances Act" (21 U.S.C. s.802 et seq.).

      c.   Notwithstanding any provision of the health benefits plan to the contrary, if for any reason payment by the carrier to the medical cannabis dispensary is not feasible, the carrier shall remit directly to the covered person the costs for any benefits associated with the medical use of cannabis upon proof of payment by the covered person to the medical cannabis dispensary.

      d.   As used in this section:

      "Carrier" means an insurance company, health service corporation, hospital service corporation, medical service corporation, or health maintenance organization authorized to issue health benefits plans in this State or any entity contracted to administer health benefits in connection with the State Health Benefits Program or School Employees' Health Benefits Program.

 

     6.    This act shall take effect on the 90th day next following enactment.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill requires workers' compensation, personal injury protection (PIP), and health insurance coverage for the medical use of cannabis under certain circumstances.

     The bill provides that personal injury protection automobile insurance benefits, workers' compensation benefits, and health benefits plans must include coverage for costs associated with the medical use of cannabis, provided that the insured, employee, or covered person is a qualifying patient authorized for the medical use of cannabis pursuant to the "Jake Honig Compassionate Use Medical Cannabis Act," P.L.2009, c.307 (C.24:6I-1 et al).

     In addition, the bill provides that an employer or workers' compensation insurance carrier, private passenger automobile insurance carrier, or health insurance carrier is not required to provide coverage or benefits for costs associated with the medical use of cannabis upon intervention by the federal government to enforce of the federal "Controlled Substances Act" (21 U.S.C. s.802 et seq.).

     Lastly, the bill provides that an employer, insurer, or health insurance carrier shall, if for any reason payment by the employer, insurer, or health insurance carrier to the medical cannabis dispensary is not feasible, remit directly to the insured, employee, or covered person the costs for any benefits associated with the medical use of cannabis upon proof of payment by the insured, employee, or covered person to the medical cannabis dispensary.

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