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Medicare Offers Important Cessation Coverage for Tobacco Smokers

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Making the decision to quit smoking can add years to your life and put money back in your pocket, and Medicare offers crucial services to help you get there.

Every year, smoking kills nearly half a million people and costs our country more than $300 billion dollars. A recent study showed that a person who smoked 20 or more cigarettes a day and made the choice to quit at age 65 could increase their life expectancy by two to three years.

For tobacco users, Medicare Part B covers up to eight visits of smoking and tobacco-use cessation counseling visits per year. The benefit is broken up into two “quit attempts” per year and four counseling sessions per quit attempt. Smokers pay nothing for these sessions if their healthcare provider accepts assignment.

To pair with counseling, a healthcare provider may recommend certain prescription medications that will help you quit. A Medicare Advantage plan and Medicare Part D will both cover smoking cessation prescriptions approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) — currently Chantix (varenicline tartrate) and Zyban (bupropion hydrochloride) or the generic forms of each.

Early-Detection Pulmonary Screenings Covered by Medicare

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services put together this video o help explain all the ways kicking the tobacco habit can change your life for the better. 

American Lung Association research shows that cigarette smoke causes nearly 90% of all COPD cases, and early detection is key for effective treatment. Medicare Part B cover lung cancer screenings for recipients who are:

  • Between the ages of 55 and 77

  • Either asymptomatic or is exhibiting no signs of lung cancer

  • Current smokers or have quit within the last 15 years

  • Previous smokers with a history of smoking an average of a pack a day for 30 years

  • Given a written order from their doctor

If patients meet all these conditions and their doctor accepts the assignment, they’ll pay nothing out of pocket for this screening.

How a Decision To Stop Smoking Now Can Add Years to Your Life

Taking advantage of this Medicare coverage can be a first step toward a commitment to your future self. Just a few days after your last tobacco use, research shows that carbon monoxide levels in your blood go back to normal, and 10 years later, your risk of lung cancer is cut in half compared to those still smoking.

Still not convinced? Think of these benefits you're likely to experience after quitting:

  • You’ll save money instantly.

  • Senses of taste and smell improve.

  • Your teeth and nails stop yellowing, and you smell better, in general.

  • Your mouth health will improve, including decreased gum disease and tooth loss.

  • Regular, everyday activities like taking the stairs or walking around the block won’t leave you out of breath.

Non-smokers are also eligible for discounts on their Medicare plans. Get a quote or speak with one of Senior Healthcare Direct’s licensed agents today at 1-833-463-3262, TTY 711 to find out how much money you can save as a non-smoker.

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LEGAL DISCLAIMER: The above is meant to be strictly educational and not intended to provide medical advice or solicit the sales of an insurance product or service of any kind.

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