Businesses that have included a tobacco cessation benefit report an increase in the number of smokers willing to quit. Coverage of a cessation benefit has also increased the percentage of smokers that successfully quit.
How Should Benefits Be Designed?
Both the Public Health Service-sponsored Clinical Practice Guidelines, Treating Tobacco Use and Dependence, and the Community Preventive Services Task Force recommend that all insurers provide tobacco cessation benefits that do the following:
- Pay for counseling and medications, together or separately.
- Cover at least four counseling sessions of at least 30 minutes each, including pro-active telephone counseling and individual counseling. While classes are also effective, few smokers attend them.
- Cover both prescription and over-the-counter nicotine replacement medications (patch, gum, lozenge, inhaler, nasal spray), buproprion and varenicline.
- Provide counseling and medication coverage for at least two smoking cessation attempts per year.
- Eliminate or minimize co-pays or deductibles for counseling and medications, as even small copayments reduce the use of proven treatments.
Coverage for Tobacco-Use Cessation (PDF, 213 KB)
Questions to Ask Insurance Plans (PDF, 129 KB)