The 27th Alaska State Legislature, 2011 - 2012||
Sponsor Statement: House Bill 209
Insurance Coverage For Tobacco Cessation
“An Act requiring a health care insurer to provide coverage for tobacco cessation treatment.”
Posted: February 9, 2012 : v27-LS0620-A
Status: (H) HSS : 2011-03-25
Tobacco dependence is a chronic and lasting condition that negatively affects the health, productivity, and overall wellbeing of Alaskans and their loved ones.
Statistics show that tobacco is a leading cause of death in Alaska. Tobacco addiction kills more Alaskans each year than suicide, motor vehicle crashes, chronic liver disease and cirrhosis, homicide, and HIV/AIDS combined. In 2007, tobacco use cost Alaskans $314 million in direct medical expenditures and an additional $177 million in lost productivity due to tobacco-related deaths.
HB 209 gives Alaskans the resources and support they need to end tobacco addiction. It requires insurance companies to provide smoking cessation programs to aid those who wish to be free from tobacco addiction. Once implemented, insurance companies will provide coverage for a minimum of two courses of treatment during each year. Two courses allow for multiple attempts for those smokers who continue to work towards ending addiction. Insurers will also offer coverage for at least four counseling sessions during each treatment course, as well as over the counter or proscribed medication approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration.
While coverage includes both counseling and medication, counseling is not a precondition for medication so that treatment is flexible to personal preferences. Data show that programs where participants may tailor treatment to personal preferences and needs are the most effective.
HB 209 provides the assistance many Alaskans need to end tobacco addiction and live healthy, long, productive lives. The long term effects of House Bill 209 will be cost savings in medical expenditures, increased productivity in the work place, lower long-term insurance costs for insurance providers, and healthier, happier Alaskans.
Please join me in support of HB 209.
 Alaska Tobacco Facts, 2009 Update. September, 2009