Medicare Tests the Cost and Health Benefits of Tobacco-Cessation Programs for Seniors

Expanding coverage of tobacco cessation services: Testing a new Medicare benefit

Project staff at the Connecticut Peer Review Organization, Middletown, Conn. (now known as Qualidigm), held a Seniors and Smoking Conference on November 17–18, 2002 in San Francisco to expand recruitment activities for the Medicare Stop Smoking Program, a federally funded demonstration project to test tobacco-cessation interventions as a Medicare benefit.

Key Results

  • The conference helped to establish an outreach network of senior service and tobacco control advocates in the seven states in which the trial was piloted. These states were: Alabama, Florida, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, Nebraska and Wyoming.

    This network reported more than 700 outreach activities by the end of the enrollment period in October 2003, including mailings, media placements on television, radio and in newspapers, distribution of brochures and posters, information meetings and outreach at health fairs.
  • Ultimately, 7,354 seniors enrolled in the Medicare Stop Smoking Program. RAND is evaluating the effectiveness of the three smoking-cessation interventions piloted by the program.

Funding

From February 2002 through January 2004, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) provided $355,051 for this conference and follow-up outreach activities to recruit older adult smokers into the demonstration project.