Last updated: Aug 07, 2008
In a 2002 survey by America's Health Insurance Plans, a national association that represents the health insurance industry, a majority of insurers reported providing full coverage for some form of smoking-cessation treatment. More than 40% of the companies who responded to the survey also reported full coverage for bupropion (Zyban), one of the leading smoking-cessation drugs.
Once youve decided to quit, youll have a much greater chance of success if you plan ahead and get some sort of support, says Bill Blatt, manager of tobacco control programs for the American Lung Association. Fortunately, getting a plana personalized one, at thatis free. To get yours, call the national quit line at 800-QUIT-NOW, which automatically connects you to a quit specialist in your state. The counselor will ask you about your smoking habits and can help you determine which aids (gum, drugs, patches, etc.) might be worth a try.
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3. Get free or discounted nicotine gum, patches, or lozenges.
Some state and local health agencies distribute nicotine replacement products at a discount or free of charge, says Blatt. Check on their availability through the national quit line (800-QUIT-NOW). For example, New York Citys smoking-cessation programs, which are offered at hospitals and clinics throughout the city, include free nicotine patches, free motivational and informational materials, and free or low-cost counseling services.
Save money by taking the generic version of the quit-smoking drug Zyban, which is significantly cheaper than the brand-name version; a 90-day program of brand-name Zyban costs $552, while the generic, bupropion, costs $200. (The other quit-smoking drug, Chantix, is not yet available as a generic.) Generic versions of over-the-counter nicotine replacement products (gum, patches, lozenges) are also available on drugstore shelves, and are usually less expensive.
Its worth shopping around for drugs and nicotine replacement products, advises Blatt. Costs can vary tremendously from one pharmacy to another. Also check prices online at Drugstore.com, CVS, Walgreens, and other retail-pharmacy sites.
"Many workplaces have quit-smoking or wellness programs that offer free counseling and discounted (or free) nicotine replacement products," says Robert Zirkelbach, a spokesman for Americas Health Insurance Plans.
If you qualify for one of these accounts, the money you spend on smoking cessation wont be taxed. It may seem obvious to pay for prescription medication with these accounts, but many people don't realize that in most cases you can buy over-the-counter aids or pay for counseling sessions with this money as well.