Cigarette smoking is one of the greatest drivers of adverse health outcomes and costs for state Medicaid programs. By investing in comprehensive tobacco cessation programs, states have successfully reduced smoking rates and health care costs, and have improved health outcomes. Tobacco treatment is one of the most cost-effective preventive services with as much as a $2-$3 return on every dollar invested.
State Medicaid programs have a variety of strategies at their disposal to help address this problem. They can use Medicaid administrative funding to enhance quitlines; implement mandatory coverage of tobacco cessation counseling for pregnant women; and provide cessation services for all other Medicaid beneficiaries. They also can ensure coverage of all FDA-approved tobacco cessation medications.
Maryland helps Medicaid Beneficiaries Quit
Maryland's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH), which includes the state public health and Medicaid programs, has implemented a successful Tobacco Quitline. A quitline is a tobacco cessation service available through a toll-free telephone number that is staffed by counselors who are trained specifically to help smokers quit. Quitlines allow smokers to access many different types of cessation information and services, including: free support and advice from an experienced cessation counselor; a personalized quit plan and self-help materials; and social support and coping strategies to help the participant deal with cravings; the latest information on cessation medications; and in some instances, over-the-counter nicotine replacement medications (NRT) to help during a quit attempt.
Quitlines play an important role in a comprehensive state tobacco control program, and the evidence suggests that smokers who receive quitline counseling are approximately 60 percent more likely to succeed than smokers who receive minimal or no counseling. From July 2011 through June 2012, Maryland served 2,108 Medicaid participants through the state quitline.
Learn more about Medicaid-supported tobacco cessation strategies.
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