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Report Shows States Can Do More to Provide Access to Tobacco Cessation Services Through Medicaid

February 13, 2020

Washington, D.C. – February 13, 2020 – A report released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Office on Smoking and Health (OSH) provides an updated snapshot of states’ Medicaid coverage of tobacco cessation treatments and therapies. Almost all states continue to miss opportunities to reduce tobacco-related deaths and health care costs as a result of providing inadequate or limited tobacco cessation coverage. The article, titled “State Medicaid Coverage for Tobacco Cessation Treatments and Barriers to Accessing Treatments – United States, 2008-2018” is featured in this week’s issue of CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

The report highlights that while all 50 states cover at least some cessation treatments for Medicaid enrollees, only Missouri and Kentucky provide completely barrier-free access to all approved cessation services. The vast majority of states place annual limits on the number of quit attempts a Medicaid enrollee can make. Additionally, 14 states have yet to expand eligibility for their Medicaid programs, leaving an estimated 4.4 million American adults without access to health coverage and tobacco cessation services.

A report on smoking cessation released last month by the Surgeon General concluded that insurance coverage leads to higher rates of successful quitting and is cost-effective. Medicaid coverage can also help in reducing existing disparities in tobacco use. Smoking rates among Medicaid enrollees are currently twice that of those with private insurance.

The following is a statement from Lisa Lacasse, president of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN):

“While today’s report shows that progress is being made at the state level in providing Medicaid enrollees with access to comprehensive tobacco cessation services, there is much more that must be done. The majority of states are missing key opportunities to save lives from tobacco use by failing to provide comprehensive and barrier-free access to proven cessation strategies that greatly aid in helping people quit tobacco for good.

“ACS CAN is calling for every state to provide its Medicaid populations with access to comprehensive and barrier-free tobacco cessation therapies and treatments, and for the federal government to do its part to ensure state Medicaid programs cover these services. States should be working to make it as easy as possible for people to quit tobacco use. Doing so would result in a reduction of health care costs at the state level and, most importantly, save lives.”

 

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