Finally, Medicare is catching up to most private insurers by giving counseling for any beneficiary who’s trying to quit smoking. Dr. Barry Straube, the program’s main medical officer, says it’s never too late, for lifelong smokers even. Medicare already covers drugs used to help smokers quit, as well as counseling for those who have developed a smoking-related illness.
But starting immediately, this program will expand the power to cover up to eight counseling sessions a 12 months for any beneficiary who wants to quit. And next year, such counseling will be cost-free, under a provision in President Barack Obama’s health care law that removes co-payments for precautionary services. Older smokers often don’t get as much attention from doctors as do younger ones. Straube. That may start to change now. About one in 10 elderly people smoke, weighed against one in five people among the U.S. It turns out that smokers age 65 and old present a medical paradox. Many began when it was fashionable to light up.
They are much more likely than young smokers to be seriously hooked on nicotine and less likely to attempt quitting. But research demonstrates their odds of success are greater if they are doing try to quit the habit. And old smokers who receive counseling are significantly more likely to stop than those who only get standard health care.
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One research of elderly heart attack patients found that those who got counselling to help stop smoking were more likely to be alive five years later. It’s unclear why the elderly who make an effort to stop have better luck than young smokers. Straube has his own theory: “They’re under less stress,” he said. Medicare’s new smoking cessation advantage may also be available to more youthful individuals who are covered by the program due to a impairment. About 1 million of them are smokers. All rights reserved. This material might not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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