Perth-based health insurer HIF could cover psychedelics as evidence grows of the medicine’s efficacy in treating mental health issues including PTSD, substance abuse, and anxiety.

CEO Justin James described the medicinal potential of psychedelics as “extraordinary” and said he could see a time when the firm would play a role in delivering them to Australians.

HIF CEO Justin James

He told The Australian: “I have a keen interest in what is coming and what we… can provide members into the future – particularly around better choice and access.

“Post-Covid, we’re seeing one in five claims… for mental health episodes, and that’s appearing in much younger areas of society than it ever has before.

“That means our members are going to suffer more… if we don’t have alternatives, if we don’t start seeing some progressive ways to deal with these issues.”

Australia’s national science agency CSIRO has a new licence under which it will work with local medtech companies to improve existing psychedelic products and develop new ones.

James said he wanted HIF to help its members access the medicine once psychedelics clear the necessary regulatory and clinical hurdles.

“We also want to play a significant role partnering with providers and manufacturers to reduce the cost that we might not be able to cover in a full rebate,” he added.

The move comes after HIF announced a strategic partnership with Little Green Pharma in November 2020 under which it would pay rebates for medicinal cannabis with eligible members receiving up to A$105 back per script.

James said: “Our members want to see us differentiate by being able to tap into what’s new and what’s coming. That is a differentiator and something we pride ourselves on being able to do.”

Prior to launching Cannabiz, Martin was co-founder and CEO of Asia-Pac’s leading B2B media and marketing information brand Mumbrella, overseeing its sale to Diversified Communications in 2017. A journalist...