Bill would require insurers to pay for anti-smoking help

Posted: 2/10/2010

From Chicago Breaking News:

A bill introduced in the state Legislature today would require private health insurers to pay for stop-smoking drugs and counseling.

Under House bill 5766, insurers would be on the hook for at least $500 of annual coverage for people ages 15 years old and older. They'd be responsible for covering an array of stop-smoking approaches: counseling and support groups, over-the-counter nicotine replacement therapies, and prescription drugs.

"Approximately 70 percent of smokers say they want to quit," said Rep. Sara Feigenholtz, D-Chicago, cosponsor of the bill with Senator Heather Steans, D-Chicago. "We need to give them the tools they need to succeed."

Seven other states have a similar law on the books already, said Joel Africk, president and CEO of the Respiratory Health Association of Chicago. The association helped draft the bill, he said, modeling it on Oregon's law. He pointed out the long-term financial savings made possible by people quitting smoking.

"This bill is something that will pay off for employers, taxpayers and government alike," he said.

--Dan Simmons

Orginal here

For more informationabout this proposed legislation, view Respiratory Health Association of Metropolitan Chicago's press release.