The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lists smoking as the leading cause of preventable death in the United States. Despite the health risks, however, 42.1 million Americans smoke, attesting to the challenge of stopping the addicting habit. If you are struggling to stop smoking and are a Medicare beneficiary, help is free.

How Do I Qualify?

All Medicare Part B beneficiaries that have not already been diagnosed with an illness attributed to tobacco use qualify for eight face-to-face counseling sessions in a 12-month period. The counseling sessions must be prescribed and performed by a Medicare practitioner. If you have already been diagnosed with a tobacco-related illness, take heart. Medicare will still pay 20 percent of the Medicare-approved amount. Note, your Part B deductible also applies.

How Do I Get Started?

The first step is to talk to your health care provider. He or she will be able to tell you the cost of their services. If they charge above the Medicare-approved amount, you may have some out-of-pocket expenses. Your doctor may also recommend more than eight sessions in one year. In this case, your out-of-pocket costs may increase. Talk to your doctor about his or her recommendations and what’s covered by Medicare.

Dedicated to Wellness

Medicare covers many wellness and preventive care services. Counseling is available to qualified beneficiaries for obesity, alcohol addiction and substance abuse. The variety of wellness services covered has increased under the Affordable Care Act. Under the new legislation, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force has taken a more authoritative role, mandating what preventive services must be covered by insurers. While Medicare is not legally required to follow Task Force recommendations, they generally do adhere to them.

Find out more about how Medicare can keep you healthier. Take full advantage of your coverage. The professionals at National Health Insurance Agencies are ready to help. Contact us to learn more.