Health insurance that pays the full cost of smoking-cessation treatments can increase quit rates, compared to benefit plans that pick up only part of the tab or that offer no cessation benefits at all, according to a new review of studies.
Smokers receiving full benefits were one-and-a-half times more likely to quit successfully and nearly one-and-a-half times more likely to try quitting than those receiving no benefit, according to review authors Janneke Kaper of Maastricht University in the Netherlands and colleagues.
The actual increase in quit rates was slight, however. In studies where a full benefit was compared to no benefit, abstinence rates among smokers rose 2 percentage points, Kaper says. "In this economically minded time, determining the effectiveness of an intervention is no longer enough to justify its use," Kaper says. "As health care costs increase and resources are limited, it is also important to determine whether financial support for smoking-cessation treatment is cost-effective."
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