State medicaid coverage for tobacco cessation treatments and barriers to coverage - United States, 2008-2014

MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2014 Mar 28;63(12):264-9.


Medicaid enrollees have a higher smoking prevalence than the general population (30.1% of adult Medicaid enrollees aged <65 years smoke, compared with 18.1% of U.S. adults of all ages), and smoking-related disease is a major contributor to increasing Medicaid costs. Evidence-based cessation treatments exist, including individual, group, and telephone counseling and seven Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved medications. A Healthy People 2020 objective (TU-8) calls for all state Medicaid programs to adopt comprehensive coverage of these treatments. However, most states do not provide such coverage. To monitor trends in state Medicaid cessation coverage, the American Lung Association collected data on coverage of all evidence-based cessation treatments except telephone counseling by state Medicaid programs (for a total of nine treatments), as well as data on barriers to accessing these treatments (such as charging copayments or limiting the number of covered quit attempts) from December 31, 2008, to January 31, 2014. As of 2014, all 50 states and the District of Columbia cover some cessation treatments for at least some Medicaid enrollees, but only seven states cover all nine treatments for all enrollees. Common barriers in 2014 include duration limits (40 states for at least some populations or plans), annual limits (37 states), prior authorization requirements (36 states), and copayments (35 states). Comparing 2008 with 2014, 33 states added treatments to coverage, and 22 states removed treatments from coverage; 26 states removed barriers to accessing treatments, and 29 states added new barriers. The evidence from previous analyses suggests that states could reduce smoking-related morbidity and health-care costs among Medicaid enrollees by providing Medicaid coverage for all evidence-based cessation treatments, removing all barriers to accessing these treatments, promoting the coverage, and monitoring its use.

MeSH terms

  • Health Services Accessibility*
  • Humans
  • Insurance Coverage / statistics & numerical data*
  • Medicaid / economics*
  • Smoking Prevention*
  • Tobacco Use Cessation / economics*
  • Tobacco Use Cessation / methods
  • United States