BUSINESS
02/15/2018 12:55 EST | Updated 02/15/2018 12:55 EST

Sun Life Financial To Cover Medical Marijuana In Group Benefits Plans

The company provides health benefits coverage to one in six Canadians.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
Medical marijuana is shown in Toronto, November 5, 2017. Sun Life Financial Inc. is adding medical marijuana as an option for its group benefits plans, marking an industry shift and the latest sign of growing public acceptance of cannabis.

TORONTO — Sun Life Financial Inc. is adding medical marijuana as an option for its group benefits plans, marking an industry shift and the latest sign of growing public acceptance of cannabis.

The Toronto-based insurer's chief executive Dean Connor says the move was influenced by rising interest from Sun Life's employer clients.

Sun Life provides health benefits coverage to more than three million Canadians and their families, or one in six Canadians.

Available for specific conditions

Starting March 1, plan sponsors will have the option to add medical cannabis coverage to extended health-care plans, ranging from $1,500 to $6,000 per covered person per year.

Sun Life says its medical cannabis coverage will be available for specific conditions and symptoms including cancer-related nausea, rheumatoid arthritis pain and palliative care.

Patient advocacy group Canadians for Fair Access to Medical Marijuana says this comes after years of litigation to gain this level of acceptance for medical cannabis, and hopes the landmark move will lead plan sponsors to include coverage in their benefits plans.

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