Healthy Living

Medicaid Smokers Quit and Save $3 for every $1 Spent

Tobacco Free Kids
Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids PRNewswire

A new study shows that the Massachusetts Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids saved more than $3 for every $1 it spent on services to help beneficiaries in the state's Medicaid program quit smoking.

The researchers conclude that the “study provides compelling evidence that comprehensive coverage of tobacco cessation services can save lives and dramatically reduce state and federal health care spending.”

But according to the President of the program Matthew L. Myers, all states should provide comprehensive Medicaid coverage for smoking cessation treatments.

Among Massachusetts Medicaid beneficiaries after having the coverage of tobacco cessation services hospital admissions for heart attacks and coronary heart disease fell dramatically.

Researchers at The George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services and published in the journal PLoS ONE examined the cost implications from reducing these hospital admissions.

For every $1 that Massachusetts invested in the program yielded $3.12 in savings for cardiovascular-related hospital admissions alone.

Researchers noted that the new study confirms the cost effectiveness of the tobacco cessation initiative, which reduced smoking among Massachusetts Medicaid recipients from 38 percent to 28 percent in just 2 ½ years.

The reductions in cardiovascular-related hospitalizations translated into net annual savings of about $14.7 million for the state Medicaid program.

Tobacco kills more than 400,000, the authors wrote. Americans every year and costs the nation $96 billion in health care bills annually.

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