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NAQC Newsroom: Research

State Medicaid Coverage for Tobacco Cessation Treatments and Barriers to Accessing Treatments — Unit

Friday, April 13, 2018  
Posted by: Natalia Gromov
Anne DiGiulio, Zach Jump, Annie Yu1, Stephen Babb, Anna Schecter, Kisha-Ann S. Williams, Debbie Yembra, Brian S. Armour.
State Medicaid Coverage for Tobacco Cessation Treatments and Barriers to Accessing Treatments — United States, 2015–2017.
MMWR / April 6, 2018 / Vol. 67 / No. 13
 
Cigarette smoking prevalence among Medicaid enrollees (25.3%) is approximately twice that of privately insured Americans (11.8%), placing Medicaid enrollees at increased risk for smoking-related disease and death (1). Medicaid spends approximately $39 billion annually on treating
smoking-related diseases (2). Individual, group, and telephone counseling and seven Food and Drug Administration (FDA)–approved medications* are effective in helping tobacco users quit (3). Although state Medicaid coverage of tobacco cessation treatments improved during 2014–2015, coverage was still limited in most states (4). To monitor recent changes in state Medicaid cessation coverage for traditional (i.e., nonexpansion) Medicaid enrollees, the American Lung Association collected data on coverage of a total of nine cessation treatments: individual counseling, group counseling, and seven FDA-approved cessation medications† in state Medicaid programs during July 1, 2015–June 30, 2017. The American Lung Association also collected data on seven barriers to accessing covered treatments, such as copayments and prior authorization. As of June 30, 2017, 10 states covered all nine of these treatments for all enrollees, up from nine states as of June 30, 2015; of these 10 states, Missouri was the only state to have removed all seven barriers to accessing these cessation treatments. State Medicaid programs that cover all evidence-based cessation treatments, remove barriers to accessing these treatments, and promote covered treatments to Medicaid enrollees and health care providers would be expected to reduce smoking, smoking-related disease, and smoking-attributable federal and state health care expenditures (57).


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