Medicare Offers Help to Stop Smoking

by Lois Etienne on September 24, 2010

in Senior Health and Safety

Are you are a smoker – or know someone who is – and want to quit? Good for you!  Help for seniors is now available through Medicare. In fact, the Department of Health and Human Services recently expanded Medicare coverage of evidence-based tobacco cessation counseling, removing a barrier to treatment for all tobacco users covered by Medicare, which includes about 4.5 million seniors.Senior-Woman-And-Daughter-in-Spokane-Washington

Previously, Medicare had covered tobacco counseling only for individuals diagnosed with a recognized tobacco-related disease or showed signs or symptoms of such a disease.

Under the new coverage, any smoker covered by Medicare will be able to receive tobacco cessation counseling from a qualified physician or other Medicare-recognized practitioner who can work with them to help them stop using tobacco.

“For too long, many tobacco users with Medicare coverage were denied access to evidence-based tobacco cessation counseling,” said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “Most Medicare beneficiaries want to quit their tobacco use. Now, older adults and other Medicare beneficiaries can get the help they need to successfully overcome tobacco dependence.”

There’s good reason why your doctor wants you to strive to quit. Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable illness and death in the United States and is a major contributor to the nation’s increasing medical costs. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that tobacco use causes about one of five deaths in the United States each year and that, on average, adults who use tobacco die 14 years earlier than non-users.

What’s more, stress can take a terrible toll on the health, making it difficult to give up bad habits. And there’s nothing more stressful than caregiving.  For tips on how you can reduce your stress, go to our Caregiver Support section.

Why not consider the assistance of a professional caregiver? For a few hours a week, a CAREGiver from Home Instead Senior Care could look after your spouse while you have some time away to relax, refresh and work on developing good habits. Call today for more information.

To learn more about preventative services available to Medicare beneficiaries, visit

For more information or to get answers to your questions, please contact your local Home Instead Senior Care office.  We can be reached — anytime day or night – by calling Spokane509.835.5898, North King/Snohomish Counties: 425.670.2292 or South King/Pierce Counties253.943.1603. You can also email us at

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