Trust Benefast to Keep You Up to Date with the Latest Trends in Employee Benefits. Give Them a Call Today. (780) 918-0802
The winds of change wafting through the employee health benefits world lately are laced with something a little... peculiar, to say the least.
Marijuana legalization has been a hot topic for Edmonton residents since the last federal election. That topic is only getting hotter as we get closer to the October 17th, 2018 cannabis legalization date. The question on everyone's mind seems to not only be if medicinal marijuana will be covered by employee health benefits but how are employers responding to the new cannabis legislation?
The legalization of marijuana carries with it a broad range of implications for employers to consider. Topics of concern range from the consumption of cannabis on work premises and the consumption of such at social events to drug testing in the workplace. A recent poll by Benefits Canada revealed that only one-third of employers feel that they are prepared to face the new challenges riding the coattails of cannabis legalization. While that doesn't instill a whole lot of faith in what is about to come, we have to understand that with every new initiative we are going to experience growing pains, and this is no exception.
As far as employee health benefits coverage is concerned, with the expected insurgence of medicinal marijuana use as a result of the new legislation, the landscape is murky. Weighing in strongly on the decision to cover it or not is the limited information that insurers have concerning the benefits vs. the risks of medicinal marijuana, as well as the high cost of covering it. Those who do cover it have a strict set of restrictions concerning which conditions it will cover.
Does this mean that with wider access to marijuana in the form of its legalization, benefits providers are going to ease up on these restrictions? Only time will tell. One interesting outcome of the new cannabis legislation likely to take place is the increased willingness on the part of policy buyers to disclose information to insurers. It's no secret that we may fib a bit on our insurance applications, especially when it comes to the smoking of illegal substances. But once these substances are no longer illegal are more people going to be open about declaring their use of it, creating a more exact insurance system? Marijuana legalization may very well be paving the road to more honest lifestyles, which is a benefit to everyone.
Looking to speak to someone about clearing the air on this issue? Feel free to give Benefast a call! We're here to help with all of your employee benefits needs.