Preventing Chronic Disease
INTRODUCTION: State Medicaid programs can cover tobacco cessation therapies for millions of low-income smokers in the United States, but use of this benefit is low and varies widely by state. This article assesses the effects of changes in Medicaid benefit policies, general tobacco policies, smoking norms, and public health programs on the use of cessation therapy among Medicaid smokers.
METHODS: We used longitudinal panel analysis, using 2-way fixed effects models, to examine the effects of changes in state policies and characteristics on state-level use of Medicaid tobacco cessation medications from 2010 through 2014.
RESULTS: Medicaid policies that require patients to obtain counseling to get medications reduced the use of cessation medications by approximately one-quarter to one-third; states that cover all types of cessation medications increased usage by approximately one-quarter to one-third. Non-Medicaid policies did not have significant effects on use levels.
CONCLUSIONS: States could increase efforts to quit by developing more comprehensive coverage and reducing barriers to coverage. Reductions in barriers could bolster smoking cessation rates, and the costs would be small compared with the costs of treating smoking-related diseases. Innovative initiatives to help smokers quit could improve health and reduce health care costs.
Ku, L., Brantley, E., Bysshe, T., Steinmetz, E., & Bruen, B. K. (2016). How Medicaid and Other Public Policies Affect Use of Tobacco Cessation Therapy, United States, 2010-2014.. Preventing Chronic Disease, 13 (). http://dx.doi.org/10.5888/pcd13.160234