Wednesday, May 11, 2011
New York State Medicaid program expands coverage of smoking cessation counseling
Effective April 1, 2011, Medicaid expanded coverage of smoking cessation counseling (SCC) to ALL Medicaid enrollees. Each Medicaid enrollee will be
allowed 6 counseling sessions during any 12 continuous months which must be provided on a face-to-face basis. Smoking cessation counseling complements the use of prescription and non-prescription smoking cessation products. These products are also covered by Medicaid.
“This is a big deal,” said Wendi Hamm, UHS tobacco nurse specialist. “Preventing and reducing tobacco use are the most important public health actions that can be taken to improve the health of New Yorkers, and comprehensive smoking cessation coverage – which includes counseling and medication – works.”
Medicaid is government-funded health care that pays the medical expenses of people who are unable to pay some or all of their own medical expenses.
This expansion of Medicaid coverage is important for several reasons, including:
• Tobacco use costs each New York State household an average of $842 annually in local, state and federal
taxes to cover tobacco-caused costs to government.
• Tobacco use costs New York State over $8 billion per year in smoking-related healthcare costs.
According to the 2009 New York Adult Tobacco Survey, 48 percent of all smokers are on Medicaid or have no health insurance.
• While approximately 18 percent of New Yorkers smoke, 30 percent of Medicaid recipients are smokers.
• Smokers on Medicaid were more likely to have attempted to quit smoking in the past year than those with private insurance. However, the smokers on
Medicaid were less likely to quit smoking successfully than those with private health insurance.
• Tobacco use and dependence is the leading preventable cause of morbidity and mortality in New York. Quitting smoking is the top thing smokers can do for their health.
The overall prevalence of smoking in New York has fallen by about 22 percent since 2001, but cigarette use still results in an estimated 25,500 deaths in New York each year. Additionally, despite the statewide decline, tobacco use remains higher among certain
A recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
report (“Cigarette Smoking – United States, 1965 – 2008”) found that, “In addition to racial/ethnic disparities in cigarette smoking, other groups have
higher prevalence of cigarette smoking, with higher use reported among persons with low socioeconomic status; persons with histories of mental health and
substance abuse conditions …”
“Addressing health disparities is an important part of improving the overall health of the American public. It’s
critical that we assist Medicaid recipients with their quit smoking attempts. Not only are Medicaid recipients more likely to be smokers, but they also are less likely to receive cessation assistance. The expansion of Medicaid’s services to include smoking cessation counseling will help New Yorkers. Counseling and medication are each effective when used by themselves for treating tobacco dependence. However, the combination of counseling and medication is more effective than either alone. So, clinicians should encourage all individuals making a quit attempt to use both counseling and medication. And Medicaid’s expanded services will make this approach more affordable for many people,” said Wendi.
Experts from UHS are available to discuss the
effects of tobacco use. Contact UHS Community Relations at 762-2336 to schedule an interview.