Those on Medicaid Smoke More Than Others

ATLANTA, Oct. 21 (UPI) — People on Medicaid are twice as likely to smoke as the U.S. population, but the cessation help they get varies state-to-state, researchers and officials say.

The Center for Health and Public Policy Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention surveyed Medicaid programs in the 50 states and the District of Columbia to document their 2009 tobacco cessation programs.

The survey found that although 47 programs offered coverage for some form of tobacco-dependence treatment to Medicaid enrollees, only eight states offered coverage for all recommended medications and at least one form of counseling for all enrollees trying to quit smoking. Connecticut, Georgia, Missouri and Tennessee offered no coverage for tobacco-dependence treatment to their enrollees.

Indiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana and Pennsylvania require coverage of all recommended pharmacotherapies and individual and group counseling for all Medicaid enrollees to quit smoking.

“To have the greatest impact, it is important that Medicaid programs inform their enrollees and providers about changes in coverage for tobacco-dependence treatments and offer these treatments without barriers or limitations,” the report says.

The report was published Thursday in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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