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NAQC Newsroom: Research

Healthcare Costs Around the Time of Smoking Cessation.

Thursday, July 12, 2012  
Posted by: Natalia Gromov
Hockenberry JM, Curry SJ, Fishman PA, Baker TB, Fraser DL, Cisler RA, Jackson TC, Fiore MC. American Journal of Preventive Medicine. June 2012;42(6):596-601.
The Affordable Care Act mandates that new insurance plans cover smoking-cessation therapy without cost-sharing. Previous cost difference estimates, which show a spike around the time of cessation, suggest premiums might rise as a result of covering these services. This study analyzed whether healthcare cost data differed between smokers enrolled in a randomized trial for smoking cessation and a matched sample of smokers in the community. The initial clinic visit was associated with a spike in cost. That spike had reversed for sustained quitters by the sixth quarter post-quit, showing that continuous sustained quitters cost $541 less than continuing smokers (p<0.001) among those enrolled in the randomized trial. In addition, continuous sustained quitters cost less than their matched community counterparts in almost every quarter. The cost difference ranged from $270 (p=0.01) during the quit quarter, to $490 (p<0.01) in the 6th quarter after quitting. The authors conclude that the inclusion of smoking-cessation therapy does not appear to raise short-term healthcare costs. By the sixth quarter post-quit, sustained quitters were less costly than trial participants who continued smoking.

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