Did you know Medicare can help you kick the tobacco habit?

We have all heard the statistics regarding smoking and tobacco use but unless you are a smoker, or have actually quit smoking or using tobacco, you never truly understand hard it is to kick the habit. Not only is quitting smoking and tobacco use a money saver (in more ways than one) it is a great start to a healthier lifestyle. Not only will you save money when you stop buying tobacco products, you will also save money on your out-of-pocket expenses due to health care costs associated with smoking related illness and diseases. However, money isn’t everything – quitting smoking and/or tobacco use today will lead to a longer, healthier life, and your health is everything.

When it comes to smoking and tobacco use it is ok to be a quitter!

If you are thinking about quitting, maybe these facts regarding tobacco use will help you go from thinking about quitting to actually quitting: Tobacco use continues to be the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the United States. Smoking can attribute to and exacerbate heart disease, stroke, lung disease, cancer, diabetes, hypertension, osteoporosis, macular degeneration, abdominal aortic aneurysm, and cataracts. Smoking harms nearly every organ of the body and generally diminishes the health of smokers.

No more excuses! Older smokers have been shown to be more successful in their attempts to quit than younger smokers and respond favorably to their health care providers’ advice to quit smoking. Brief clinical interventions and counseling by health care providers have been shown to increase the chances of successful cessation.

Quitting is hard, but Medicare can help. Medicare offers counseling to stop smoking or using tobacco products under your original Medicare Part B (doctor) insurance. This coverage allows up to two “quit-smoking” attempts a year, and each attempt includes up to four counseling sessions for a total of eight face-to-face visits during a twelve month period. The visits must be provided by a qualified doctor or other Medicare recognized practitioner. Any person who is enrolled in Medicare Part B and use tobacco are covered for these counseling sessions.

If I have Medicare how much do I pay?

If you have not been diagnosed with an illness caused or complicated by tobacco use, you pay nothing for the counseling sessions if the doctor or other health care providers accepts Medicare assignment. However, if you have been diagnosed with an illness caused or complicated by tobacco use, or you take medicine that is affected by tobacco use then you will pay the original Part B deductible and 20% of the Medicare approved amount for the counseling sessions. To help the process, doctors also may prescribe one of seven anti-smoking drugs currently approved by the Food and Drug Administration. These medications are covered under most Medicare Prescription Drug Plan (also known as “Part D”).

If I have a Medicare Advantage Plan how much will I pay?

If you have a Medicare supplement or Medicare Advantage (also known as “Part C”) plan, it will cover all preventive services the same as original Medicare. This means that these plans will not be allowed to charge cost-sharing fees (coinsurances, co-pays or deductibles) for preventive services that original Medicare does not charge for as long as you see in-network providers. If you see providers that are not in your plan’s network, charges will typically apply. For more information regarding the costs associated with your plan’s out of network coverage review your Medicare Advantage plan’s Summary of Benefits.

Why Should I Quit Smoking?

Talk to your health care provider and make a plan to quit. According to the United States Surgeon General stopping smoking now can have the following positive results on your body and your health:

  • Within 20 minutes: Your heart rate and blood pressure drop.
  • Within 12 hours: The carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal.
  • Within 3 months: Your circulation and lung function improves.
  • Within 9 months: You will cough less and breathe easier.
  • After 1 year: Your risk of coronary heart disease is cut in half.
  • After 5 years: Your risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, and bladder are cut in half. Your risk of cervical cancer and stroke return to normal after 5 years.
  • After 10 years: You are half as likely to die from lung cancer. Your risk of larynx or pancreatic cancer decreases.
  • After 15 years: Your risk of coronary heart disease is the same as that of a non-smoker.

So how do you start your plan to stop smoking? First, commit to quit. Quitting is hard, but you can increase your chances of success with help. Consult with your health care provider regarding smoking cessation counseling and/or medications. You can also call the American Cancer Society at 1-800-227-2345 or find free tips and tools on their website.


Medicare Pathways, Inc. 1-866-466-9118