Benefits/Health Coverage

Businesses that have included a tobacco cessation benefit report an increase in the number of smokers willing to quit. Coverage of a cessation benefit has also increased the percentage of smokers that successfully quit.

How Should Benefits Be Designed?

Both the Public Health Service-sponsored Clinical Practice Guidelines, Treating Tobacco Use and Dependence, and the Community Preventive Services Task Force recommend that all insurers provide tobacco cessation benefits that do the following:

  • Pay for counseling and medications, together or separately.
  • Cover at least four counseling sessions of at least 30 minutes each, including pro-active telephone counseling and individual counseling. While classes are also effective, few smokers attend them.
  • Cover both prescription and over-the-counter nicotine replacement medications (patch, gum, lozenge, inhaler, nasal spray), buproprion and varenicline.
  • Provide counseling and medication coverage for at least two smoking cessation attempts per year.
  • Eliminate or minimize co-pays or deductibles for counseling and medications, as even small co-payments reduce the use of proven treatments.

NEW from the Surgeon General: Smoking Cessation - The Role of Payers

Questions to Ask Insurance Plans (PDF, 129 KB)

QuitlineNC Partnership Plan (PDF, 247 KB)

NC State Health Plan Success Story (PDF, 532 KB)