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Murray Calls on Washington State Insurers to Increase Access, Transparency on Affordable Care Act Services that Help Tobacco Users Quit

(Washington, D.C.) – Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) sent letters to seven Washington state health insurers offering qualified health plans in the Washington Health Benefit Exchange, Washington Healthplanfinder, expressing concern over a lack of transparency and clarity in the availability of treatments that can help tobacco users quit.


Murray noted that given the severe public health risks it is critical that tobacco users have access to the full range of recommended tobacco cessation interventions, including medication and counseling, without cost-sharing as required by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). She urged the insurers to do their part to provide accurate, current information and full coverage of these benefits, and requested an update on the action steps the insurers are taking to ensure that consumers get the coverage entitled to them by the law.


“The ACA’s expansion of coverage presents a great opportunity to connect tobacco users with the support and treatment needed to help them quit,” Murray wrote in the letters, “Insurance carriers must do their part to provide accurate and up to date information and full coverage of cessation products to people across Washington state.”


Read Murray’s letter to Moda Health here. Murray sent similar letters to BridgeSpan, Premera Blue Cross, LifeWise Health Plan of Washington, Community Health Plan of Washington, Group Health Cooperative, and Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of the Northwest.


Murray also sent letters to Molina Healthcare of Washington, Coordinated Care, and Columbia United Providers Inc., who have demonstrated that they are providing full coverage under the law, commending their efforts to cover tobacco cessation interventions.