Health Insurance Plans that Work for You
Health insurance plans really want you to quit smoking — not just for your health but for the rising costs of healthcare for smokers. Because of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), many plans are willing to pay for your quit, especially for tobacco cessation products like nicotine gum, patches, and prescription drugs that many smokers turn to for support. If you’re really determined to quit, it’s wonderful to know that any extra expenses you might incur can be offset by this help, not to mention all the money you’ll be saving by not buying cigarettes. In fact, your health insurance’s assistance may be just the thing you need to boost your motivation to quit.
Here are a few ways you can get tobacco cessation products for free. Make sure to check with your health insurance plan to find out what they specifically offer.
Employer-sponsored health insurance plans. All plans sold after September 2010 must cover tobacco cessation treatment, but coverage varies widely by plan.
State Health Insurance Exchanges. All plans in the Health Insurance Marketplace are required to cover tobacco cessation treatment, however coverage varies by plan.
Medicaid. Medicaid is available to low-income children, pregnant women, and adults. The ACA requires all Medicaid programs to cover tobacco cessation medications, but tobacco cessation coverage in each state may differ on quantity limits, types of medications, or duration of treatment For example, Colorado Medicaid pays for counseling to help you quit smoking as well as for any federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved medications or products for two 90-day sessions each year. Call your Medicaid program and ask how to receive these medications.
Medicare. Medicare recipients are covered for nicotine products such as the nasal spray, inhaler, bupropion, and varenicline, as well as group and individual counseling for two quit attempts per year. The ACA adds a prevention and wellness visit with your doctor.
Uninsured. For those without health insurance (and even for those who do have a plan but want additional help!), phone counseling is available through your state quitline by calling 1-800-QUIT-NOW. Some state quitlines also offer free nicotine patches and gum to help you get started. Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW to find out what’s available to you.
You can also check out the American Lung Association’s website for coverage help specific to your state!