Tuesday, November 10, 2009
The American Lung Association is releasing its second annual "Helping Smokers Quit: State Cessation Coverage" report. The report addresses state coverage of cessation treatments through Medicaid, state employee health plans, private insurance, and quitlines in 2009. It shows that states are not doing enough to help smokers quit, when they could be saving lives and money by doing so.
Currently, only six states provide comprehensive coverage for Medicaid recipients: Indiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, Oregon and Pennsylvania. Just five states provide comprehensive cessation coverage for state employees: Illinois, Maine, Nevada, North Dakota and New Mexico.
The Lung Association recommends that private insurance plans also offer comprehensive cessation coverage and encourages states to require all insurance companies to cover these treatments. Currently, only seven states (Colorado, Maryland, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon and Rhode Island) have such requirements.
This lack of comprehensive cessation coverage in most states leaves smokers without clinically-proven treatment options when they want to quit.
The report makes recommendations on how to provide all smokers with access to cessation treatments in health care reform, and urges policymakers to provide this coverage. It also calls on each state to provide all Medicaid recipients and state employees with comprehensive, easily-accessible tobacco cessation medications and counseling. Finally, it recommends that private insurance plans offer comprehensive cessation coverage and encourages states to require all insurance companies to cover these treatments.
You can download the report here, and you can find detailed, state-specific information on cessation coverage through an online State Tobacco Cessation Coverage Database.