• Obama Administration Muddies Water on Tobacco Cessation Programs

    Asked by LiveWithCancer on Monday, October 31, 2016

    Obama Administration Muddies Water on Tobacco Cessation Programs

    There was hope that Obamacare would have insurers cover tobacco cessation programs without barriers. Unfortunately,according to the president of the American Lung Association, the Administration asked questions instead of providing help to smokers addicted to nicotine. The ALA press release follows, in the comments.

    8 Answers from the Community

    8 answers
    • LiveWithCancer's Avatar
      LiveWithCancer

      In response to the release of FAQ about Affordable Care Act Implementation on tobacco cessation from the Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor and Treasury, American Lung Association National President and CEO Harold P. Wimmer offers the following statement:

      “Quitting smoking is the single most important step an individual can take to improve their health. Smoking is an addiction, and we know that seven out of ten smokers want to quit and need access to proven-effective quit smoking services. The human and economic burden caused by tobacco use is enormous. Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the United States – killing almost 500,000 Americans each year and leading to at least $289 billion in healthcare costs and lost economic productivity.

      “Today, the Obama Administration asked questions when the American public needs answers. The September 2015 U.S. Preventive Services Task Force ‘A’ grade affirmed that quitting smoking is one of the most effective things someone can do to improve their health and prevent illness and disease. The Affordable Care Act requires that all such services be covered without cost sharing. Unfortunately, today’s FAQ release fails to provide the answers that patients, providers and insurers need. It means that the current state of confusion will remain, creating additional barriers and burden for those seeking assistance to quit smoking. Making it easier to quit smoking will save lives, and must be a national imperative.

      “The American Lung Association is deeply disappointed that the Obama Administration failed to act on the September 2015 U.S. Preventive Service Task Force grade “A” recommendation that stated that all treatment options for tobacco cessation should be offered without barriers. Today’s action further delays the much needed clarity on this issue until the next Administration and misses the 2017 Affordable Care Act open enrollment period.

      “Today’s FAQ makes clear that this request for comment does not remove health plans’ responsibility for offering coverage consistent with the USPSTF recommendations, which clearly state that all seven FDA-approved medications and all three forms of counseling are made available to enrollees without cost-sharing and barriers, and that a clinician should consider the patient’s specific medical history.

      “Today is a missed opportunity. The Vice President’s Cancer Moonshot Blue Ribbon Panel recommended access to medications and counseling on all insurance products as a key strategy to prevent cancer. Tobacco cessation also reduces healthcare costs which is vital when so many Americans are facing higher insurance premiums and out-of-pocket costs. The American Lung Association will continue to work to help all smokers quit and ensure that the promise of access to all proven-effective tobacco cessation preventive services, without cost sharing, is unambiguous.”

      For media interested in speaking with an expert about tobacco cessation and lung health, contact Allison MacMunn the American Lung Association at [email redacted] or[phone number redacted].

      ###
      http://www.lung.org/about-us/media/press-releases/obama-administration-delays-tobacco-cessation-coverage-clarification.html

      almost 4 years ago
    • BuckeyeShelby's Avatar
      BuckeyeShelby

      Although my company will be getting out of the healthcare exchange field by the end of the year, the policies we have for this year do cover 100%. Most of our employer driven plans also cover smoking cessation. Granted, this is just one small TPA as opposed to a big honking insurance company, but... And of course, next year could bring changes as well.

      almost 4 years ago
    • cards7up's Avatar
      cards7up

      Please explain to me where the confusion lies in this statement, "The Affordable Care Act requires that all such services be covered without cost sharing." Should this not be falling back on the insurance companies that are doing all they can to make ACA a disaster?
      Take care, Judy

      almost 4 years ago
    • cards7up's Avatar
      cards7up

      "Although insurers can’t charge more for health status, they can charge up to 50% more for smoking status. On the flip side of this ObamaCare includes smoking cessation therapy (including medication) as a free preventive service on all non-grandfathered plans sold since September 23, 2010." And as for coverage, it varies by state and this has been the way of insurance companies and still is. Take care, Judy
      http://publichealthlawcenter.org/sites/default/files/resources/tclc-fs-aca-&-tobacco-control-2014_0.pdf

      almost 4 years ago
    • LiveWithCancer's Avatar
      LiveWithCancer

      Apparently, there was a FAQ issued that the American Lung Association does not believe requires insurers to cover smoking cessation programs. It seems it may fall to the individal insurers to decide whether to cover the cost. I think ALA was hoping it would be mandated. I could be wrong.

      almost 4 years ago
    • CAS1's Avatar
      CAS1

      Smoking is going up with teens for the first time in a decade.

      almost 4 years ago
    • cards7up's Avatar
      cards7up

      LiveWithCancer, I think you're right that ALA was hoping it would be mandated. But as you can see, you won't tell the insurance companies what to do. They drop out! Which several have done leaving people stranded without insurance. And they don't care! That's what's sad about our health insurance, it's all about money! Take care, Judy

      almost 4 years ago
    • BuckeyeShelby's Avatar
      BuckeyeShelby

      I know one of the groups in Ohio was actually kicked out of business by the state... Not just out of the ACA business, but the company is now gone and the state is handling the situation until the end of the year.

      almost 4 years ago

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