Friday, November 6, 2009

New Medicaid Study Highlights Tobacco Cessation Coverage

Forty-three states now cover some form of cessation treatment for Medicaid beneficiaries, up from 23 states in 1998, according to the Nov. 6 issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), which summarizes coverage of tobacco dependence treatment under the Medicaid program, reported that. However, only six states cover all of the effective pharmacotherapies and individual and group counseling.

Smoking rates among Medicaid enrollees are much higher than among the general population – 4.7 million smokers. This represents 33% of the total Medicaid population and adds to nearly $22 billion in annual Medicaid expenditures related to smoking. Numerous studies have found that tobacco cessation treatments are highly cost effective. Yet many barriers exist, preventing greater access to those who need and want help to quit tobacco use.

Partnership for Prevention and the Call for ACTTION initiative encourage the federal government and states to implement the updated 2008 Public Health Service Clinical Practice Guidelines which call for access to comprehensive coverage of all effective treatments – counseling and medication without barriers and limitations.

Diane M. Canova
Managing Senior Fellow
 & Senior Program Officer
Partnership for Prevention


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