Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Offers Smoking Cessation Reimbursement
How to Quit Tips and Information Available to Coincide with the Great American Smoke Out on November 18, 2004
News Media Contact
Clark Dumont, APR
Manchester, New Hampshire (November 17, 2004) – With smoking the leading preventable cause of premature death in New Hampshire, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield has reminded its participating primary care physicians, pulmonologists and cardiologists of its program for reimbursing members who are enrolled in smoking cessation programs.
“We’re asking physicians and other providers of care throughout the state for their assistance in helping patients to quit,” said John Robinson, M.D., Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield’s medical director in New Hampshire. “Greater strides and long-term solutions need to be made since smoking has such a harmful impact on health, business and insurance costs,” said Robinson.
Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield members in New Hampshire are eligible for reimbursement of up to $100 per year for Nicotine patch or gum or Zyban. Members submit receipts for reimbursement. Office visits for smoking cessation counseling are covered under Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield’s employer group and individual benefit programs.
In addition to the reimbursement, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield also provides access to timely and authoritative health information through the MyHealth@Anthem
Web site at www.anthem.com
Events like the upcoming ‘Great American Smoke Out’ on Nov. 18 are a perfect time to quit smoking,” Robinson said. “Picking a date and sticking to it is the first important step to quit smoking. However, nicotine is an addiction, so we also need to focus on broader solutions and programs that address the many complicated facets of smoking cessation.”
Quitting smoking has immediate benefits that should not be overlooked. Because smoking harms nearly every organ of the body, impacting the health of smokers in general, smokers can reduce their risks for smoking-related diseases such as cancer, coronary artery disease, stroke and emphysema.
Smoking also has an immediate impact on the pocketbook. With a pack of cigarettes averaging around $4, smokers with a pack-a-day habit are spending about $1,460 per year by quitting, according to Money Magazine. In addition, smokers’ medical costs run about $1,600 a year higher than nonsmokers’ costs.
To quit smoking, Robinson recommends picking a specific date in the immediate future – for example November 18, “The Great American Smoke Out.” Don’t set it so far out that you change your mind. Do give yourself time to prepare an action plan, then circle the date on your calendar.
"Smokers are more successful at quitting when they enlist their doctor's help,” said Robinson. "Once you've decided to quit, make an appointment with your doctor; together, you can come up with a strategy for success."
He also recommends following the American Cancer Society’s recommendations.
| Tell friends and family about your quit day so that they could help support you. |
| Stock up on sugarless gum, carrot sticks, or hard candies to substitute for a cigarette. |
| Decide on a plan. Will you use nicotine replacement therapy? Will you attend a class? |
| Get support from a group class, family members, or a friend who has already quit. |
| Break routines that you associate with smoking and replace them with new habits. |
“Drink lots of water and get plenty of exercise,” Robinson added. “Exercising will help the time pass, help your overall health and reduce your risk for conditions such as heart disease.” He recommends people avoid situations where they’ll be more likely to smoke. In addition, people should try to avoid alcohol and coffee, which can induce some to smoke again.
For more information about smoking cessation or the impact of smoking, please visit:
| MyHealth@Anthem by going on www.anthem.com, selecting New Hampshire, then clicking on the MyHealth@Anthem icon. |
| The American Lung Association of New Hampshire at www.nhlung.org with links to “Freedom from Smoking” materials and and a Lung Health Call Center at 1-800-548-8252.|
| The American Cancer Society at www.cancer.org. Entering a zip code leads to information, news and resources to a particular area. |
| The New Hampshire Smokers’ Helpline at 1-800-Try-To-Stop. |
Anthem’s mission is to improve the health of the people it serves. The Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies, including Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in New Hampshire, provide health care benefits to more than 12.7 million people. Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in New Hampshire is a subsidiary of Anthem, Inc. (NYSE: ATH); both are independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Anthem is the Blue Cross and Blue Shield licensee for Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Colorado, Nevada, Maine and Virginia, excluding the Northern Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C. More information about Anthem is available at www.anthem.com.