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CDC: Medicaid Smoking Cessation Coverage Lacking

Only 39 state programs cover some form of tobacco dependence treatment

MONDAY, Feb. 11 (HealthDay News) -- Despite a national health objective of Healthy People 2010 that calls for all state Medicaid programs to cover evidence-based tobacco dependence treatments, only 39 programs covered some form of smoking cessation treatment, and only one state program provided coverage for all recommended treatments as of 2006, according to a report in the Feb. 8 issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

H.A. Halpin, Ph.D., of the University of California in Berkeley, Calif., and colleagues report on data from a 2006 survey of Medicaid programs' coverage for tobacco dependence treatments.

In all, 39 of 51 Medicaid programs (in the 50 states and the District of Columbia) covered at least one form of tobacco-dependence pharmacologic treatment, including bupropion (Zyban), nicotine patches, nicotine gum, varenicline (Chantix), nicotine nasal spray, nicotine inhalers and nicotine lozenges. Seventeen states covered some form of tobacco dependence counseling. Four states covered treatments only in pregnant women. Thirty-two states extended coverage to include the newest medication, varenicline (Chantix). Only Oregon covered all recommended treatments. Of the programs that offered some coverage of smoking cessation treatment, 72 percent required copayments.

"If the 2010 objective is to be achieved, Medicaid coverage for tobacco-dependence treatment must increase substantially," the authors conclude.

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