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Should private insurers be required to pay for medication that helps people quit smoking?

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n2doc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-27-11 09:34 AM
Original message
Should private insurers be required to pay for medication that helps people quit smoking?
Regence, Premera balk at covering quit-smoking drugs
By VANESSA HO
SEATTLEPI.COM STAFF

Should private insurers be required to pay for medication that helps people quit smoking?

A bill (SB 5039) by state Sen. Ed Murray, D-Seattle, would require insurance companies to cover at least two courses of tobacco-cessation treatments in a 12-month period, which would include counseling and over-the-counter and prescription drugs approved by the FDA.

Insurers already cover counseling for quitting smoking as a preventive benefit under health care reform. The bill would add such OTC products as patches, lozenges and gum, plus prescription-only medication such as nasal sprays and inhalers.

The bill has generated debate on whether the costs saved in reducing smoking are worth the predicted rise in premiums, at a time when many people can't afford health care.

more
http://www.seattlepi.com/local/434217_quitsmoking.html
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bluerum Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-27-11 09:38 AM
Response to Original message
1. As well as methadone and safe injection clinics.
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Statistical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-27-11 09:42 AM
Response to Original message
2. I think so and most insurance companies likely wouldn't mind.
Edited on Thu Jan-27-11 09:49 AM by Statistical
Here is the thing most insurance companies won't offer X because if they do, someone else won't and will undercut them on price. Company looked to save a couple dollars (x10,000 employees) picks cheaper plan.

However if they all are forced to then it becomes cost neutral and in the long run it is VERY good for insurance companies bottom line to have healthier people in the pool.

Premiums are rising anyways so blaming it on smoking OTC products is kinda silly. One would expect premiums to rise initially but the amount is relatively little. One in three Americans smoke. Say 20% of them will take advantage of that. So that is 6% of insurance pool. What does a years supply of smoking drugs costs. $300? (I honestly don't know). Lets say insurance company covers half of it and negotiates the price down to $200. Net-net average back of napkin premium increase is something like $6 per person per year.

In the future years if more people quit and stay of smoking health care costs should decline.
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Davis_X_Machina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-27-11 10:56 AM
Response to Reply #2
3. True, but...
...what about those un-helmeted gun-owners who smoke, purely as a matter of principle, while nursing in Olive Gardens?
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Statistical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-27-11 11:03 AM
Response to Reply #3
5. Well if this passes then maybe they will just be
un-helmeted gun-owners who nurse, purely as a matter of principle, in Olive Gardens. :)
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flamin lib Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-27-11 11:23 AM
Response to Reply #3
6. Laughing too hard to type more than the subject line . . . .nt
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Ilsa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-27-11 11:00 AM
Response to Original message
4. If the medication works, then the insurer would be smart to offer to pay for it. nt
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Broderick Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-27-11 11:31 AM
Response to Reply #4
8. Could think of it as prevention
and the benefits would likely outweigh the costs possibly.
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Freddie Stubbs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-27-11 11:27 AM
Response to Original message
7. Why not raise the cost of premiums for smokers to cover the cost of tobacco-cessation treatment?
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SoCalDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-27-11 11:31 AM
Response to Reply #7
9. and let's also track who orders pizza & goes to donut shoppes
Edited on Thu Jan-27-11 11:32 AM by SoCalDem
let's charge them more if they are overweight...heart attacks & diabetes run rampant in those environs, dontchaknow?

and why not charge more for people with children? children get taken to the doctor a LOT..

and why not charge more for people who play a sport.. I sure don't want MY premiums going up to pay for those shin-splints, sprained ankles, blown-out knees..

I mean really ! :eyes:






:sarcasm:------->just in case
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Freddie Stubbs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-27-11 03:45 PM
Response to Reply #9
19. Some insurers already are charging more for obese patients
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Kalyke Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-27-11 11:47 AM
Response to Reply #7
13. Because smokers already pay more.
Duh.
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Freddie Stubbs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-27-11 03:41 PM
Response to Reply #13
18. How much more? Enough to pay for tobacco-cessation treatments
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dkofos Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-27-11 11:42 AM
Response to Original message
10. You would think in the long run it would save them billions.
But I guess what they will say is DENIED, YOU SMOKED!!
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Bragi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-27-11 11:45 AM
Response to Original message
11. As medical costs, these are minuscule
The idea that including these costs would increase premiums doesn't make sense to me. A single medical test probably come in at many times what these OTC products cost.
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Kalyke Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-27-11 11:46 AM
Response to Original message
12. If they're going to charge us more for being smokers, then yes, they should.
They should also pay for some (not all) diet aids.
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Nye Bevan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-27-11 11:49 AM
Response to Original message
14. No-brainer. How much does it cost to treat lung cancer and emphysema? (nt)
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Imagevision Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-27-11 11:53 AM
Response to Original message
15. How many die from lung cancer yearly?
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Xithras Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-27-11 12:24 PM
Response to Original message
16. There are some that don't?
Every insurance policy I've had for the past 20 years has covered smoking cessation programs. Those programs ultimately save the insurers money in the long run, so it would be STUPID for them NOT to cover them!
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WinkyDink Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-27-11 12:27 PM
Response to Original message
17. If they're smart.
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leftstreet Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-27-11 03:46 PM
Response to Original message
20. Better Question: Should there even BE private insurers? n/t
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