California Medi-Cal beneficiaries now have easier access to a smoking-cessation aid that has been shown to increase quit rates when used in conjunction with counseling.
As of this week, callers to the California Smokers’ Helpline who are on the state’s Medicaid program can receive a direct delivery of a four-week supply of nicotine patches to their home. In the past, Medi-Cal clients seeking the patches were required to receive a prescription from their physician and participate in an approved smoking-cessation program.
To be eligible for the free patches, Medi-Cal beneficiaries must be at least 18 years old and are required to enroll in counseling through the Helpline (1-800-NO-BUTTS). Research has indicated that using a combination of Helpline counseling and a smoking-cessation aid has led to the highest quit rates among smokers.
In order to incentivize participation further, the program is offering $20 gift card bonuses to individuals who complete their first counseling session under this initiative.
“The most cost-effective way to reduce health care costs is to help smokers quit,” Steven Schroeder, MD, director of the Smoking Cessation Leadership Center at the University of California San Francisco, said in a news release.