Thursday, April 3, 2014

Uneven progress in expanding state Medicaid coverage for smoking cessation

More smokers would quit if state Medicaid programs covered more cessation treatments and removed barriers to coverage, according to a CDC study published in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.  All 50 states and the District of Columbia cover cessation treatments for at least some Medicaid enrollees.  Efforts to expand state Medicaid coverage for all smoking cessation treatments and remove coverage barriers have shown mixed progress over the past five years.
Seven states cover all approved medications and in-person counseling cessation treatments for all Medicaid recipients. All states have some barriers to getting these treatments. 
Colorado Medicaid covers all nicotine replacement medications and is implementing coverage for individual and group counseling. However, barriers remain. Colorado Medicaid coverage varies on co-payments and counseling requirements for medications. The state has limits on quit attempts and therapy and requires prior authorization.
Americans enrolled in Medicaid are more likely to smoke than the general population, and smoking-related disease is a major contributor to increasing Medicaid costs.  Insurance coverage of proven cessation treatments leads to more smokers using the treatments and successfully quitting smoking.  A recent study from the American Journal of Preventive MedicineExternal Web Site Icon found that more comprehensive state Medicaid coverage was associated with increased quit rates among smokers enrolled in Medicaid.

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