Trips to The Doctor: Health Benefits Provider to Cover Psilocybin
Psychedelic trips are gaining health insurance coverage as an employee benefit. Even Timothy Leary could never have imagined such a wild turn of events. The new slogan should be: Turn on and tune in…at open enrollment.
Enthea, a Massachusetts-based company that’s the first and only licensed provider of psychedelic health plans, announced on November 14 that, as far as the company is concerned, psilocybin is a drug worthy of workplace coverage in jurisdictions where the substance is legal.
The health insurance industry is a multi-trillion-dollar juggernaut with the power of life and death, which makes Enthea’s news a game-changer for the psychedelics scene. Psilocybin, the psychoactive ingredient in “magic mushrooms,” represents the vanguard of health sector profits.
“Given the evidence of effectiveness seen in clinical trials in the U.S. and elsewhere, we have decided to give our employers the option of including psilocybin-assisted therapy in their benefit plans,” said Sherry Rais, CEO and co-founder of Enthea. “Oregon and Colorado have already legalized the use of psilocybin, and we expect others to do so next year.”
Dude, where’s my cure?
Enthea is a major third-party health insurance benefits administrator. The company announced earlier this year that it would cover ketamine treatment nationwide. Ketamine is a dissociative substance used medically for anesthesia. It’s also used as a treatment for depression, pain management, and as a recreational hallucinogen.
Last year, Enthea worked with soap company Dr. Bronner’s to offer psychedelic-assisted therapy to workers through their employee health plans.
Enthea said this week that it plans to expand its standards of care to include adult use of psilocybin “in combination with psychotherapeutic support.” The company plans to publish the change to its provider network sometime in the first quarter of next year. The goal, Enthea said, is to cover psilocybin-assisted treatment by mid-2024.
“We have had our eye on the potential benefits of psilocybin therapy since we founded our company,” Dan Rome, Enthea’s co-founder and chief medical officer, said in a press release. “We are very encouraged by published results as well as what we hear from practicing therapists, and are confident that this brings an important new option for combating mental illness.”
Enthea said its services will expand further to include therapies with other psychedelic substances, such as MDMA, “as they are approved.”
Insuring inner journeys…
The electric kool-aid acid test is coming to a doctor’s office near you…and lots of money is at stake.
Data published by Research and Markets forecasts that the global psychedelic drugs market is on track to grow from $4.75 billion USD in 2020 to 10.75 billion USD by 2027, representing a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12.36% during this time frame (see chart).
Marijuana is similarly entering the health insurance mainstream. Earlier this year, two other companies, Bennabis Health and CannaCoverage, teamed up to provide medical cannabis coverage as part of their workplace benefits packages.
Psychedelics are banned on the federal level in the U.S. as a Schedule I drug, but as with marijuana, the states are taking action. The California cities of Oakland, Santa Cruz, and San Francisco have decriminalized psychedelics. Colorado and Oregon have done likewise, on a statewide level.
In Massachusetts, Gov. Maura Healy (D) recently filed legislation to create a psychedelics working group to make recommendations concerning the therapeutic benefits of psychedelics such as psilocybin and MDMA for military veterans.
Grassroots organizers in the Bay State recently said they’ve collected enough valid signatures to compel lawmakers to consider a psychedelics legalization initiative. If that route fails, the pro-psychedelics lobbyists vow to get the initiative onto the state’s 2024 ballot.
At the federal level, lawmakers and Veterans Affairs officials met in the U.S. House on Tuesday for the first congressional hearing on psychedelics since the 1960s. Testimony focused on how substances such as psilocybin and MDMA can enhance psychiatric therapy for military veterans struggling with mental health ailments.
The upshot: The movement to legalize psychedelics and marijuana is getting broader with each passing day, in turn opening new investment opportunities. Don’t get left behind.
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John Persinos is the editorial director of Investing Daily.