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NAQC Newsroom: Research

The Impact of Insurance Gain and Discussions with Healthcare Providers on Quitting Smoking.

Thursday, September 14, 2017  
Posted by: Natalia Gromov
Brown C, Wei F.
The Impact of Insurance Gain and Discussions with Healthcare Providers on Quitting Smoking.
Behav Med. 2017 Sep 6:0. doi: 10.1080/08964289.2017.1375455. [Epub ahead of print]
 
Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States. Analyzing the ability for different mechanisms to reduce smoking rates can provide healthcare systems with information to establish the most effective smoking cessation efforts. Health insurance provides individuals with direct mechanisms to curb smoking behavior, such as access to smoking cessation resources. Gaining insurance may additionally indirectly influence smoking cessation by altering risk perceptions. Behavioral economic theory suggests that gaining health insurance may reduce current smokers' rate of discounting on the future, which could increase smoking cessation. This paper aimed to evaluate the impact of insurance status (i.e., gaining any private (n = 681), gaining only public (n = 647), or remaining uninsured (n = 5,056)) as well as the impact of having a discussion with a healthcare provider about quitting smoking on smoking cessation among current adult smokers who were uninsured at the beginning of their data collection. Data for this study came from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey 2003 to 2014 database. The study found that while individuals gaining public insurance was not statistically associated with smoking cessation, individuals who gained private insurance were more likely to stop smoking than individuals who remained uninsured (OR: 1.330; 95% CI: 1.019,1.737; p = 0.036). Having a discussion with a healthcare provider about quitting smoking was not associated with smoking cessation. These findings indicate that gaining private insurance may impact smoking behavior through mechanisms other than direct access to physician services.


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