Background: The 2000 Public Health Service Clinical Practice Guideline, Treating Tobacco Use and Dependence, recommends health insurance coverage for tobacco-dependence treatments proven effective in helping smokers to quit. Two states with comprehensive coverage for tobacco-dependence treatments in their Medicaid programs were selected to document awareness of coverage for tobacco-dependence treatments among primary care physicians who treat Medicaid enrollees and Medicaid-enrolled smokers.
Methods: In 2000, surveys were conducted among Medicaid smokers (n =400) and physicians (n =160) to document knowledge of covered tobacco-dependence treatments under state Medicaid programs in two states with comprehensive coverage.
Results: Only 36% of Medicaid-enrolled smokers and 60% of Medicaid physicians knew that their state Medicaid program offered any coverage for tobacco-dependence treatments. Physicians were more than twice as likely to know that pharmacotherapies were covered compared to counseling.
Conclusions: Greater effort is needed to make Medicaid smokers and physicians aware that effective pharmacotherapies and counseling services are available to assist in treating tobacco dependence. Additionally, future research should explore the methods that are most effective in informing patients and providers regarding covered benefits.