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American Lung Association Calls For Better Insurance Coverage To Help Smokers Quit

Sean Gallup, Getty Images

A report released by the American Lung Association says thousands of lives and billions of state and federal dollars could be saved by making sure that the Affordable Care Act helps smokers put an end to their nicotine addiction.

The report says over $800 million in medicaid spending could also be saved if the ACA expanded and eased access to to tools and treatments to help smokers quit.

The report also says tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States and costs the American economy over $300 billion annually.

The Lung Association wants every smoker to have free access to quit smoking treatments through insurance and Medicaid plans.

While the ACA does cover quit smoking treatments and options, New York State’s coverage for tobacco cessation treatment is deemed inadequate in every category evaluated by the report.

“While New York does offer some coverage to smokers who want to quit, it’s far from the comprehensive coverage that we need to have in place to help more New Yorkers quit successfully,” said President of the American Lung Association Northeast Jeff Seyler. “More than 25,000 New Yorkers die each year as a result of smoking. We need to provide current smokers with the help they need to overcome their addiction so they can live longer, healthier lives.”

In addition to providing treatment the American Lung Association says insurance plans and policymakers must help smokers by not requiring co-pays or prior authorization, and not limiting the number of times a smoker can get the benefit.

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