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NAQC Newsroom: NAQC News

NAQC Public-Private Partnership Initiative: Updates and New Resources

Tuesday, October 3, 2017  
Posted by: Natalia Gromov

Dear Colleagues,

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires most fully- and self-funded plans to offer tobacco cessation coverage that meets the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force recommendations for medications and counseling. However, many private and public health plans may not provide coverage as defined by the Task Force. In some cases, insurers believe they are providing the required coverage, some are unaware of resources available to them to provide treatment services while some insurers believe the ACA does not apply to them.
Through years of experience, states participating in the NAQC public-private partnership (PPP) have overcome many of these challenges, learned key lessons for success and have reaped the benefit of building long lasting relationships. The lessons and challenges, summarized below, have been instrumental to advancing tobacco cessation coverage by both employers and private health plans.

State Lessons Learned:

  • Strong support from health department leadership and/or governor’s office is needed to advance cessation coverage statewide.
  • Limiting quitline eligibility to only high-risk populations can drive health plans to contract for quitline services or to provide cessation services internally.
  • Generally, states that have been able to dedicate staff to the partnership work have shown more significant progress in advancing cessation coverage in their states.
  • States participating in CDC’s 618 Initiative projects have made significant progress in building relationships with Medicaid staff.
  • State legislation can be instrumental to improving cessation coverage for all segments of the population.
  • Legislation provides an opportunity to educate employers and health plans on evidence-based cessation treatment and resources to ensure members/employees have access to such services.
  • Integrating cessation treatment into health systems can expand access to evidence-based services.
  • Educating employers about the return-on-investment from cessation coverage is instrumental to improving coverage for employees.


  • The uncertainty surrounding continuation of the ACA have added to the complexity of the work and slowed progress for some states.
  • Staff turnover for both state health departments and Medicaid programs slow the work significantly.
  • Leadership at the Health department and/or governor’s office that does not support eligibility changes to ensure high-risk populations have access to a robust package of counseling and NRT can hinder advancing effective cessation coverage for a larger percentage of the population.
  • Staff time and consistent attention are needed to build key relationships to advance cessation coverage.
  • Some insurers and employers who believe they provide comprehensive , evidence-based services may actually offer services that are inadequate.

Interested in improving or expanding cessation coverage in your State?  NAQC has a number of resources available.

The Orientation Checklist is an excellent tool for staff to build their knowledge base.  The Checklist guides state managers through a self-paced learning process including,  webinars focused on the process of partnership developments, articles and fact sheets about the different insurance plans, cessation policy and insurance industry language and a listing of ROI journal articles and other readings.  

The PPP Resource webpage offers numerous resources and tools for assessing coverage, educating  insurers and employers on cessation coverage and  developing cost-sharing partnerships, as well as many articles and fact sheets on  the ROI of providing cessation coverage for employees.

New Resources for Employers

PPP Discussion Group calls are held the 2nd Thursday of every month at 10:00 MT.  Learn  from states with years of experience about their efforts and approaches to the work. For call-in information, please contact Deb Osborne, PPP Initiative manager at
Deb Osborne, NAQC PPP manager is available via telephone or email to discuss your state’s needs and interest in partnership development.  Contact her at

NAQC Staff

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