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APHA Scientific Session and Event Listing

Stimulating employers and health insurance plans to invest in employee tobacco cessation services

Michael J. Renner, JD, Ohio Tobacco Use Prevention and Control Foundation, 300 East Braod Street, Suite 310, Columbus, OH 43026, 614-644-1114, mrenner@standohio.org

(Abstract) With declining funding in Ohio, and desire to sustain cessation programs, public-private partnerships were formed to extend resources and increase use of existing cessation efforts. Partnerships focused on private entities that could benefit most from a tobacco user's cessation; employers and health insurance plans. The offer was designed to benefit the partner more so than the tobacco control agency. Plan provided counseling services through Ohio Tobacco Quit Line and 50/50 split in cost of nicotine replacement patches. (Methods) - Created and executed a sales strategy to involve health plans in the partnership. The key points stressed: reduced cost of coverage through discounts by manufacturers, 50% contributions by the agency, and the long term cost savings for members who quit smoking. (Results) - Insurance plans were less accepting than forecasted, however, 5 health plans did join the partnership. Combined, plans insured over 2 million Ohioans or over 18% of the population. Beneficiaries receiving the free patches and counseling were nearly 3X as successful in their quit attempts as those using the Quit Line alone. One health plan experienced a 1,000% increase in calls to Quit Line. The public response was large and self perpetuating, reducing the need for marketing expenditures. Unexpected benefit occurred as self-insured employers approached the agency for the same terms offered the insurance companies. This NRT plan is now successfully marketed directly to employers.

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