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Improving NJ's Physical and Financial Health Through Medicaid

 

In the March 28, 2014 issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, the Centers for Disease Control released "State Medicaid Coverage for Tobacco Cessation Treatments and Barriers to Coverage-United States, 2008-2014." The American Lung Association was the lead author on this report. It outlines each state's Medicaid Coverage for tobacco cessation treatment.

New Jersey's Medicaid program provides coverage for some tobacco cessation treatments. However, coverage of FDA approved medications varies by plan and no plan covers individual or group counseling.

The Medicaid population smokes at nearly double the rate of the overall population in New Jersey, but there is proof that Medicaid coverage for tobacco treatment has been successful in bringing down smoking rates in other states. In Massachusetts, a comprehensive Medicaid benefit resulted in a 26% decrease in smoking among Medicaid beneficiaries and costs savings of $3 for every $1 spent on the benefit. Providing this benefit in the Garden State could potentially bring about a similar return on investment, for personal health and finances. Therefore, American Heart Association is working with our public health partners in New Jersey to advocate for comprehensive Medicaid coverage for tobacco treatment.

Senator Shirley Turner and Assemblyman Daniel Benson recently introduced bills in the New Jersey Legislature that would require New Jersey's Medicaid program to cover tobacco treatment. We encourage advocates like you to take a stand and make your voice heard on this important issue.

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