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Medicaid enrollees have nearly twice the smoking rates (37%) of the general adult population (21%), and smoking-related medical costs are responsible for 11% of Medicaid expenditures.1,2 In 2008, the Public Health Service released clinical practice guidelines recommending comprehensive coverage of effective tobacco-dependence medications and counseling by health insurers.3Healthy People 2010 established a clear objective for Medicaid programs to cover all Food and Drug Administration—approved medications and counseling for tobacco cessation.4 To monitor progress toward that objective, the Center for Health and Public Policy Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, in collaboration with CDC, surveyed Medicaid programs in the 50 states and the District of Columbia (DC) to document their 2009 tobacco-dependence treatment coverage and found that 47 programs offered coverage. Only eight state programs offered coverage of all recommended pharmacotherapy and counseling for all Medicaid enrollees, and 16 programs reported coverage for fee-for-service enrollees that differed from that provided for Medicaid managed-care enrollees. Among the 33 programs that covered at least one combination therapy, the nicotine patch plus bupropion slow release (SR) was the one combination covered by all. The Affordable Care Act mandates Medicaid coverage of tobacco-dependence treatments5 for pregnant women, beginning October 1, 2010. Coverage of pharmacotherapy for all Medicaid enrollees will be enhanced by January 2014, when states no longer may exclude tobacco-dependence cessation drugs from covered benefits. Monitoring the extent to which Medicaid programs place limitations on these treatments can help in evaluating accessibility of tobacco-dependence treatments to Medicaid enrollees.
State Medicaid Coverage for Tobacco-Dependence Treatments—United States, 2009. JAMA. 2011;305(1):34–36. doi:
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