Sandy Praeger, Kansas Commissioner of Insurance, is encouraging consumers to check with their health insurance companies or employers regarding coverage for smoking cessation services and the specific benefits included in their policies.
In May 2014 the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced that health insurance companies and employer group health plans are required to cover tobacco use counseling and interventions, with no out-of-pocket costs and no prior authorization.
The DOL said that it will consider an insurance plan to be in compliance with this requirement if it covers both screening for tobacco use and, for those who use tobacco products, at least two tobacco cessation attempts per year.
Each cessation attempt includes four tobacco cessation counseling sessions of at least 10 minutes each (including telephone counseling, group counseling, and individual counseling) and all FDA-approved tobacco cessation medications (including both prescription and over-the-counter medications) for a 90-day treatment regimen when prescribed by a health care provider.
“We at the Kansas Insurance Department encourage all individuals who wish to stop smoking to speak with their insurance company or employer to learn about the specific smoking cessation benefits provided under their policy,” said Commissioner Praeger. “Some health plans offer additional smoking cessation services and programs beyond the DOL requirements and are anxious to share that information with their members.”
Kansas consumers who have related insurance questions can call the department’s Consumer Assistance Hotline at 800-432-2484.