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Ultra Health Initiates Cannabis Coverage for Behavioral Health Services

Ultra #Health recently sent a letter to New Mexico's prominent health insurers and state departments seeking confirmation from #insurers for #cannabis coverage as a #behavioral health #service. The #communication is a response to a recent law that eliminated all #cost-sharing and any out-of-pocket costs for behavioral health services and #medications.

On #January 1, 2022, Senate Bill 317 became effective to make mental and behavioral health services more affordable for New Mexicans. The legislation expanded the definition of behavioral health services to cover several #treatment options including “#professional and #ancillary services for the treatment, #habilitation, prevention and #identification of mental illnesses, substance abuse disorders and #trauma #spectrum #disorders. Additionally, the legislation includes inpatient, #detoxification, residential treatment, partial #hospitalization and more including brand-name #pharmacy drugs when #generics are unavailable.”

Currently, medical cannabis is a statutorily approved medication for a variety of behavioral health disorders including post-traumatic #stress disorder, opioid use disorder, severe #anorexia, and #Parkinson's disease under the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act . Nearly 73,000 New Mexicans of the total 130,000 #Medical Cannabis Program enrollees currently qualify for medical cannabis treatment under behavioral health diagnoses.

“Ultra Health acknowledges that the idea of health insurers paying for medical cannabis may seem novel at first blush,” the six-page letter states.“However, as the company discusses, it is actually a rational, reasonable notion when considered in light of other #NewMexico law. The state already requires workers compensation insurers to pay for medical cannabis, and treats medical cannabis the same as conventional prescription medications. The fact that health insurers should—and will—pay for medical cannabis is not revolutionary at this point. It is the next logical step, and it is a small step, not a giant leap.”

Ultra Health is the largest #minority-owned cannabis company in the #UnitedStates. The vertically-integrated provider currently operates 25 #dispensary locations statewide, with another 10 stores slated to open by the first quarter of 2022.

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