Policy Brief III: Tobacco Treatment Among Medicaid Beneficiaries

Kentucky cigarette smoking rates are higher than the national average and rates are even higher among Medicaid recipients. In 2017 Kentucky passed KRS 304.17A-168, a law to reduce barriers for tobacco treatment, such as medication and counseling. However, evidence-based tobacco treatment benefits are underutilized, and research has indicated that expansion of Medicaid benefits alone may not be sufficient to decrease smoking prevalence.

This Policy Brief compares tobacco use and cessation utilization based on Medicaid claims statewide and by Area Development District pre-KRS and post-law. We compare the Medicaid claims data with our team’s previous findings based on practice managers’ report of tobacco treatment utilization. The brief provides recommendations for providers and healthcare systems regarding documentation of delivery of tobacco treatment with Medicaid recipients.