United States at Tipping Point in Helping Smokers Quit

(HealthDay News) – The United States stands poised on the brink of implementing health insurance coverage requirements that will help smokers quit, but the federal government and many states now offer too little help, according to a report issued Dec. 3 by the American Lung Association.

The report, Helping Smokers Quit: Tobacco Cessation 2012, reviews tobacco cessation coverage state by state and provides current insight into what coverage requirements will exist at the federal level under the Affordable Care Act.

Among the report’s findings of state Medicaid provisions, only Indiana and Massachusetts provide comprehensive cessation coverage, while Alabama and Georgia provide no coverage at all. Also, since the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services failed to define what insurers must provide as part of a tobacco cessation benefit, it is up to individual states to choose a benchmarking plan for their insurance exchange.

“We know that the vast majority of smokers want to quit, but the complex web of state and federal coverage for effective quit-smoking programs and treatments prevents too many from getting the help they need,” Paul G. Billings, the senior vice president of Advocacy and Education at the American Lung Association, said in a statement. “States and the federal government can reduce the enormous health burden of tobacco use by providing access to these proven interventions.”

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