The demand for nicotine replacement therapies (NRT) is directly related to the level of health insurance coverage for NRT products, and inversely related to out-of-pocket costs.
Individuals who face no out-of-pocket costs for obtaining NRT products are more likely to use NRT, use NRT for longer periods of time, and subsequently use more units of NRT than individuals who face out-of-pocket costs. Over-the-counter availability of nicotine gum and nicotine patches increased the proportion of smokers using the patch and gum in the period immediately following approval of over-the-counter sale in California; there was also a significantly higher proportion of smokers reporting abstinence through gum and patch use in that period. Making smokers aware of insurance coverage for a pharmacotherapy benefit (such as NRT, bupropion or varenicline) and making it very easy to obtain the medication, increases use of the medication and quit rates, even in the absence of insurance coverage for behavioral counseling. However, simply providing coverage for pharmacotherapy, without efforts to make smokers aware of the covered benefit and making it easy to obtain, was not shown to increase the use of medication and quit rates.
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