Catching up to private insurance, Medicare expands coverage for counseling to quit smokingBy AP
Saturday, August 28, 2010
Will grandma ever quit smoking?
WASHINGTON — Medicare is catching up to most private insurers by providing counseling for any beneficiary who’s trying to quit smoking. More than 4 million seniors are hooked on cigarettes.
Dr. Barry Straube, Medicare’s chief medical officer, says it’s never too late to quit, even for lifelong smokers.
Seniors can benefit from smoking cessation counseling even if they’ve been smoking for 30 years or more, he says. Quitting can add years to their lives.
Medicare already covers drugs to help smokers quit, as well as counseling for those who have developed a smoking-related illness. But starting immediately, the program will expand the benefit to cover up to eight counseling sessions a year for any beneficiary who wants to quit.
Tags: Government Programs, Government-funded Health Insurance, North America, Public Health, Seniors, Smoking, United States, Washington