man begins tobacco cessation journey stubbing out cigarette on concrete|
Benefits 101

Tobacco Cessation Tools, Coverage and You

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Quitting tobacco is never simple but with the right tools and knowledge about your tobacco cessation coverage, you can get the help you need to succeed.

It’s a new year and you’ve resolved to take care of yourself. Drink less. Eat more greens. Be kinder. One crucial step towards better physical, mental, and emotional health is to stop using tobacco. It really is never too late to start. There are now more ways to access tools to help improve your chances of quitting tobacco completely.

Why Should I Quit? It’s Hard…

It is. However the benefits outweigh the costs associated with using tobacco. Whether it is smoking, vaping or otherwise, tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the U.S. Nearly 16 million Americans are living with a smoking-related disease: lung cancer, oral cancer, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. All of which take a severe toll on the body.

But the cost of this is not just seen in the body but in the money. An estimated $170 billion in healthcare spending is attributed to tobacco. Some of that is your individual out of pocket expenses for copays, medications and hospitalizations. Smoking is addictive but it is not cheap.

I Know This. I’m Still Smoking…

Nearly two thirds of the 34 million Americans currently using tobacco want to quit and there’s help. The truth is through extensive research, there are more tools out there to help you quit smoking than before. Your best fit for quitting can be a mix and match of any of the options mentioned below. The one thing that may not help you is trying to quit alone.

Some common tobacco cessation options include:

  • Counseling programs It can be a support group, support hotlines such as 800-QUIT-NOW or more intensive programs such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). There is also evidence to suggest that web and other internet based interventions can be effective for tobacco cessation. Talking through your struggle with others in the format that feels most comfortable for you can help give insight into your triggers and offer ways to address them.
  • Medication Some antidepressants and other drugs such as varenicline (sold as Chantix) are prescribed for tobacco cessation. There’s also over the counter remedies such as nicotine patches and gum that help ease the cravings associated with tobacco withdrawal. This is called Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT).

This Sounds Expensive…

The Affordable Care Act (ACA), among other federal laws, requires most health insurance plans in the U.S. to cover some level of tobacco cessation treatments. This means employer sponsored health plans, Medicare, Medicaid, and state insurance health plans bought on the open marketplace.

Through the ACA health plans are now required to cover tobacco cessation as a preventive service with no cost-sharing and no prior authorization on treatments. Other benefits include:

  • 4 sessions of individual, group and phone counseling
  • 90 days of all FDA-approved smoking cessation medications
  • 2 quit attempts per year

This means you should now have fewer barriers to tobacco cessation treatment and can try to quit with a combination of these options twice a year.

No one is suggesting that quitting tobacco is as simple or easy as throwing away a pack of cigarettes and chewing gum for six months. However, you do have options. The first step is making that one hard decision to quit. Check with your health insurance provider about how to access coverage and then make a plan with your doctor.

Abba Belgrave
Sales Support Manager
Amateur bird watcher and avid book reader. Abba is a former college instructor and lifelong writer who crafts sales proposals and presentations for Corporate Synergies. An indifferent but determined runner, Abba lives for mental challenges of all kinds.

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