MassHealth eliminates co-pays for products used to quit smoking


(Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

BOSTON (WPRI) — Massachusetts residents enrolled in the state’s healthcare plan that are trying to quit smoking or vaping will no longer have to pay for cessation aids, Eyewitness News has learned.

The move follows Gov. Charlie Baker’s declaration of a public health emergency, which included a temporary statewide ban on the sale of vaping products.

The elimination of all co-payments for all smoking cessation aids began on Sept. 25 and includes nicotine replacement products.

Pharmacies can only dispense the products after taking reasonable effort to determine if the purchaser’s insurance covers it, according to a Standing Order issued Sept. 24.

The products, including gum, lozenges and patches, can only be sold to people 18 years or older who have proper identification. The Standing Order also allows pharmacists to create a prescription for MassHealth members upon request.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health has reported five confirmed and five probable cases of vaping-related pulmonary illnesses. To date, 83 suspected vaping-related illnesses have been reported since Sept. 11.

Data from the Centers for Disease Contol (CDC) shows 805 lung injury cases were reported from 46 states and one U.S. territory, as well as 12 confirmed deaths in 10 states.

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