Happy New Year from Medicare Pathways! Medicare Pathways is looking at the most popular New Year’s Resolutions and providing information on how Medicare can help follow through with the resolution.

Coming in second on the list of most popular New Year’s Resolutions: Quit Smoking

Why is smoking so unhealthy? Here are the facts: Cigarettes contain more than 4000 chemical compounds and at least 400 toxic substances. When you inhale, a cigarette burns at 700°C at the tip and around 60°C in the core. This heat breaks down the tobacco to produce various toxins. As a cigarette burns, the residues are concentrated towards the butt. The products that are most damaging are: tar, a carcinogen (substance that causes cancer); nicotine is addictive and increases cholesterol levels in your body; carbon monoxide reduces oxygen in the body; components of the gas and particulate phases cause chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD). The damage caused by smoking is influenced by: the number of cigarettes smoked; whether the cigarette has a filter; and how the tobacco has been prepared. Smoking affects how long you live! Research has shown that smoking reduces life expectancy by seven to eight years.

Medicare has you covered if your New Year’s Resolution is to quit smoking!

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.

How much will the “quit smoking” counseling sessions cost me if I have original Medicare?

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”).

How much will the “quit smoking” counseling sessions cost me if I have a Medicare Advantage plan?

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.

There again Medicare has you covered. If your New Year’s Resolution is to quit smoking you now have one less excuse for not following through. Contact your doctor and schedule your initial assessment so you can begin your New Year’s Resolution as soon as possible. Medicare Pathways wants you to live a long, healthy and happy life. Take advantage of what Medicare has to offer to assist you in getting control of the things that have a bad effect on your life. Medicare Pathways wishes you success with your resolution and the start to a healthier and happier new year!


Stay Informed!  Visit our Medicare News Blog!

Medicare Pathways  1-866-466-9118