Tobacco Cessation and Lung Cancer Screening

Posted:September 14, 2015

Are you thinking about quitting smoking? If so, Medicare Part B covers 8 face-to-face tobacco-use cessation visits in a 12 month period to help members quit.  Medicare will cover these visits if you have a condition that is caused or made worse by smoking or tobacco use, if you take a medicine that is affected by tobacco, or as a preventative service. Medications that are affected by tobacco use include insulin, and specific drugs that treat high blood pressure, blood clots, and depression. Conditions caused or worsened by tobacco use include, but are not limited to, heart disease, cancer, stroke, lung disease, osteoporosis, hypertension, diabetes, and macular degeneration.

Depending on your Supplemental or Medicare Advantage coverage, you may be responsible for up to 20% of the Medicare-approved amount and any deductibles that apply.  Your Medicare Part D plan may also cover prescription drugs to help quit smoking.  Pre-approvals and quantity limits may apply and over-the-counter treatments such as nicotine patches and gum are not covered.

Medicare Part B also covers lung cancer screening for eligible members with a Low Dose Computed Tomography (LDCT) once a year.  Medicare eligible members that are between the ages of 55 and 77, who are either current smokers or quit smoking within the last 15 years, or have a history of 30 ”pack years” (an average of one pack a day for 30 years). To qualify for the screening, you must get a written order from your physician. Medicare has taken many steps to prevent and monitor tobacco related health issues.  It is up to you to take advantage of them!

To learn more about Lung Cancer and other Medicare covered preventative services and cancer, please visit screenings The American Cancer Society.