The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said it would offer smoking-cessation treatments to seniors in seven states for a small copayment as part of a $14 million program intended to ascertain the most-effective methods for helping older smokers quit. The CMS did not say whether the study is an initial step toward recommending the coverage of smoking cessation, action that would require congressional approval. But over the past two decades, treatments shown to prevent serious health problems, such as mammograms and flu shots, have been adopted by Medicare. Under the program, 43,000 Medicare beneficiaries in Alabama, Florida, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma and Wyoming will be offered various types of treatment: specialized counseling alone; specialized counseling with either a nicotine patch or a smoking-cessation drug; counseling through a telephone hot line plus the nicotine patch; or stop-smoking information from their regular physician. -- by Laura B. Benko
CMS eyes seniors' smoking
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