Medicaid & Smokers

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

With the nation's highest rate of smokers, and an even higher rate among those who receive Medicaid, Kentucky hopes to chip away at those numbers.

The state Tuesday announced a pilot program to provide free nicotine patches and other stop-smoking aids to people who rely on the government health plan.

The $2 million program will also provide nicotine gum or lozenges to people who enter a telephone-counseling program, beginning December 15th.

State Health and Family Services Secretary Mark Birdwhistell says Medicaid spends about $140 million a year on smoking-related illnesses, which cost the state overall about $1.2 billion.

The smoking rate in Kentucky is about 29 percent, but the American Heart Association says for Medicaid recipients, the rate is 40 percent

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