Medicare Expands Coverage For Tobacco-Related CounselingThe Hill: "The Obama administration on Wednesday expanded Medicare to cover more seniors hoping to kick their tobacco habits." Previously, Medicare rules allowed the program to cover tobacco-related counseling only for beneficiaries who already suffered from a tobacco-related disease. "Under the new policy, Medicare will cover up to two tobacco-cessation counseling tries each year, including as many as four individual sessions per attempt. ... If successful, the new tobacco policy could pay dividends. Of the 46 million Americans estimated to smoke, roughly 4.5 million are seniors older than 65, HHS says. And nearly 1 million more smokers are younger than 65, but eligible for Medicare benefits. ... Tobacco-related diseases are estimated to cost Medicare roughly $800 billion between 1995 and 2015" (Lillis, 8/25).
The (Lakeland, Fla.) Ledger: "The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services calls tobacco use the leading cause of preventable illness and death in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates tobacco use causes 1 of 5 deaths in the U.S. each year" (Adams, 8/25). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.