Insurers would reimburse $500 for smoking cessation programs. Tobacco smokers wanting to quit this habit can count on help from their health insurance companies under a tax passed by the Oregon Senate. Senate Bill 734 requires insurers in Oregon to include reimbursement of at least $500 for members who enter a smokung cessation program recommended by a physician that follows U.S.A. Public Health Service guidelines.
Such programs combine education with medical treatment.
Most private insurance companies provide personal support for people who want to quit cigarettes, but most do not include it as one of their core benefits as the tobacco tax would require.
Smoking tobacco costs the country $75 billion a year in direct medical costs, Morrisette said. Paying for smoking habit costs insurance companies 10 cents per member per month and is the single most cost effective benefit they can offer, he said. The bill now goes to the House.