Health plans must cover help quitting tobacco

Cigarettes (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, file)
Cigarettes (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, file)

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) – Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger is urging Kansans who smoke or chew tobacco to check if their insurance plans cover programs to help them quit.

The U.S. Department of Labor announced in May that insurance companies and employer group health plans must cover counseling and other programs that help people quit smoking. The companies are not allowed to charge out-of-pocket costs or require prior approval for the programs.

The plans must cover at least two quitting attempts per year, which includes a 90-day supply of tobacco cessation medications approved by the Food and Drug Administration and at least four counseling sessions, whether by phone, in person or in groups.

Praeger says in a news release that some plans offer smoking cessation services and programs beyond those approved by the FDA.

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