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Rates of smoking among low income Medicaid beneficiaries are almost twice as high as the national average. Furthermore, the cost of treating tobacco-related illness is estimated to be about 11% of total Medicaid program costs. Most states offer some coverage for tobacco cessation under Medicaid, but few offer comprehensive benefits. In light of the high cost of tobacco use to the public’s health and the nation’s economy, states must:

  1. Ensure that Medicaid plans cover all component treatments recommended by the U.S Public Health Service’s clinical practice guideline;
  2. Remove arbitrary barriers that limit access to cessation treatments;
  3. Widely communicate the availability of cessation benefits;
  4. Package cessation benefits in a way that is easy for Medicaid recipients to find information about the coverage and understand how to use it;
  5. Inform Medicaid recipients that state Quitlines provide phone counseling.

Altarum Institute’s ActionToQuit initiative advocates that each state’s Medicaid program contribute to the public’s health by making tobacco cessation a priority.

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