Fewer Americans would smoke if cessation treatments were covered - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -

Fewer Americans would smoke if cessation treatments were covered

Updated: March 27, 2014 02:13 PM
© iStockphoto.com / Stockphoto4u © iStockphoto.com / Stockphoto4u

THURSDAY, March 27, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- More Americans would quit smoking if coverage for every type of smoking-cessation treatment was provided by all state Medicaid programs, and if states removed barriers to coverage, according to a federal government study.

Although states are making progress, few of them provide Medicaid coverage for all treatments to help people kick the habit, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC researchers said Medicaid enrollees are more likely to smoke than people in the general population, and smoking-related diseases are a major factor in rising Medicaid costs.

Currently, seven states cover all approved smoking-cessation medications and counseling for all Medicaid recipients. Barriers to getting these treatments exist in all states, with the most common being limits on how long treatment is covered, how much is covered per year, prior authorization requirements and co-payments, the researchers said.

They found that between 2008 and 2014, 41 states made changes to the smoking-cessation treatments they covered for at least some plans or groups of people. Nineteen states added treatments to coverage without removing any from coverage. Meanwhile, eight states removed treatments from coverage without adding any new treatments. Fourteen states both added and removed coverage.

Over that period, 38 states changed barriers to getting smoking-cessation treatment for at least some plans or groups of people. Nine states removed barriers without adding any, 12 states added barriers without removing any and 17 states both removed and added barriers.

The study appears in the March 27 issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, which is published by the CDC.

"States can save lives and reduce costs by providing Medicaid coverage for all proven cessation treatments, removing barriers to accessing these treatments and promoting the expanded coverage," Dr. Tim McAfee, director of the CDC's Office on Smoking and Health, said in an agency news release.

"Reducing the number of smokers will save lives and reduce health care costs," he said.

And many people are interested in quitting, a study researcher said.

"There's evidence suggesting that smokers enrolled in Medicaid, like other smokers, want to quit and will take advantage of covered cessation treatments to help them quit for good," study co-author Stephen Babb said in the news release.

Babb pointed to Massachusetts, which expanded its Medicaid coverage of smoking-cessation treatments in 2006.

"Massachusetts heavily promoted its new Medicaid cessation coverage to Medicaid enrollees and health care providers, and saw a drop in the smoking rate among Medicaid enrollees from 38 percent to 28 percent," Babb said.

"There was also an almost 50 percent drop in hospital admissions for heart attacks among those who used the benefit," he said. "It is important that all smokers who want help quitting -- including smokers enrolled in Medicaid -- have access to proven cessation treatments and services."

Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, and kills nearly half a million Americans a year. More than 16 million Americans have smoking-related diseases, which cost $132 billion a year in direct health care expenses, according to the CDC.

More information

The American Cancer Society offers a guide to quitting smoking.

Copyright © 2014 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

*DISCLAIMER*: The information contained in or provided through this site section is intended for general consumer understanding and education only and is not intended to be and is not a substitute for professional advice. Use of this site section and any information contained on or provided through this site section is at your own risk and any information contained on or provided through this site section is provided on an "as is" basis without any representations or warranties.
  • More From wfmj.comMore>>

  • 1 of 2 Ohio plane crash victims not yet identified

    1 of 2 Ohio plane crash victims not yet identified

    Monday, July 28 2014 9:48 PM EDT2014-07-29 01:48:43 GMT
    FINDLAY, Ohio (AP) - Authorities in northwest Ohio are still trying to identify one of two people killed in a weekend plane crash. One of the victims in the crash near Findlay was the CEO of an Ohio manufacturing company. A coroner was trying to identify the remains of a woman killed in the crash, but the Hancock County Sheriff's Office says DNA testing may be needed. Deputies say Ralf Bronnenmeier, CEO of Grob Systems in Bluffton, was piloting the single-engine plane that crashed early Sund...More >>
    FINDLAY, Ohio (AP) - Authorities in northwest Ohio are still trying to identify one of two people killed in a weekend plane crash. One of the victims in the crash near Findlay was the CEO of an Ohio manufacturing company. A coroner was trying to identify the remains of a woman killed in the crash, but the Hancock County Sheriff's Office says DNA testing may be needed. Deputies say Ralf Bronnenmeier, CEO of Grob Systems in Bluffton, was piloting the single-engine plane that crashed early Sund...More >>
  • TSA finds gun, ammo in Pittsburgh airport carry-on

    TSA finds gun, ammo in Pittsburgh airport carry-on

    Monday, July 28 2014 9:35 PM EDT2014-07-29 01:35:49 GMT
    IMPERIAL, Pa. (AP) - The Transportation Security Administration says it found a pistol and ammunition in man's carry-on bag as he passed through security at Pittsburgh International Airport. TSA official tell the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that the man wasn't allowed take the gun past security, and faces up to a $11,000 civil penalty for bringing the weapon to the checkpoint. But Allegheny County police say they don't plan to charge the man with a crime because he had a license to carry the ....More >>
    IMPERIAL, Pa. (AP) - The Transportation Security Administration says it found a pistol and ammunition in man's carry-on bag as he passed through security at Pittsburgh International Airport. TSA official tell the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that the man wasn't allowed take the gun past security, and faces up to a $11,000 civil penalty for bringing the weapon to the checkpoint. But Allegheny County police say they don't plan to charge the man with a crime because he had a license to carry the ....More >>
  • 5 Pa. reps ask NCAA to halt Penn State sanctions

    5 Pa. reps ask NCAA to halt Penn State sanctions

    Monday, July 28 2014 9:29 PM EDT2014-07-29 01:29:22 GMT
    Five Pennsylvania congressmen are asking college sports' governing body to cancel penalties against Penn State imposed as a result of the Jerry Sandusky child molestation scandal.More >>
    Five Pennsylvania congressmen are asking college sports' governing body to cancel penalties against Penn State imposed as a result of the Jerry Sandusky child molestation scandal.
    More >>
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Worldnow and WFMJ. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms