One of the most important things to remember when quitting smoking is that you’re not alone. In addition to building your quit support network, it’s possible that your insurance company can provide you some resources to help with your quit. Every policy is different, but chances are that if you have insurance, you’re entitled to some help.
Since the Affordable Care Act was signed into law in 2010, insurance companies have been required to provide coverage of some kind for smoking cessation. The Center for Disease Control stated that since smoking and tobacco use are a health and economic burden that can be prevented with effective treatments, insurance companies should be more proactive in helping people quit smoking. In a nutshell, quitting smoking doesn’t just help smokers, it helps everyone in the long run by preventing diseases that cost more to treat.
“Every year, smoking kills 480,000 Americans and costs the nation at least $130 billion in medical care costs for adults and more than $150 billion in lost productivity, imposing a heavy economic burden on private employers, private health plans, and federal, state, and local governments.”
Quitting smoking is pretty hard all by itself, but different types of benefits that can help are available through different plans! Even insurance coverage with more limited options often includes benefits for medications that have been FDA-approved to treat nicotine addictions. Treatments that fall under that category are five NRTs – the patch, nicotine gum, nasal spray, inhaler, and lozenges – and two oral medications, bupropion SR (Zyban) and varenicline (Chantix). But more comprehensive coverage, like the kind that might be provided by your workplace, not only covers medications, it may cover counseling and multiple quit attempts. The best way to find out is to get in touch with your insurance company and ask what treatment options are available to you.
The price of quitting while using NRT and other forms of assistance might look daunting on paper, but one call to your insurance company might take a lot of that financial pressure off. If you’re lucky enough to have your insurance paid for by your employer, you’re essentially getting paid to quit smoking!
If you don’t have insurance, you can still get help! Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW to find out what resources your home state offers.