Appalachian disparities in tobacco cessation treatment utilization in Medicaid

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Kentucky Medicaid enrollees, particularly those in the rural Appalachian region, face disproportionate smoking rates and tobacco-related disease burden relative to the rest of the United States (US). The Affordable Care Act (ACA) mandated tobacco cessation treatment coverage by the US public health insurance program Medicaid. Medicaid coverage was also expanded in Kentucky, in 2013, with laxer income eligibility requirements. This short report describes tobacco use incidence and tobacco cessation treatment utilization, comparing by Appalachian status before and after ACA-mandated cessation treatment coverage. Methods: The study design was a retrospective cross-sectional analysis from 2013 to 2015. Subjects were Medicaid enrollees with 1) diagnosis of any tobacco use (2013 n = 541,349; 2014 n = 864,183; 2015 n = 1,090,274); and/or (2) procedure claim for tobacco cessation counseling, and/or (3) pharmaceutical claim for varenicline or any nicotine replacement product. Primary measures included tobacco use incidence and proportion of users receiving cessation treatment. Analysis was via chi square testing of change by year. Results: Overall, the proportion of tobacco users utilizing cessation treatment decreased (4.75% tobacco users in 2013; 3.15% in 2015). Tobacco users receiving counseling decreased from 2.06% pre-ACA (2013) to 1.06% post-ACA (2015, p < 0.001), as did the proportion receiving nicotine replacement products post-ACA (2.69% in 2013 to 1.55% by 2015; p < 0.001). More Appalachians received cessation treatment than non-Appalachians in 2013 (2.72% vs. 2.03%), but by 2015 non-Appalachians received more treatment overall (1.50% vs. 1.65%; p < 0.001). Appalachians received more counseling and NRT, but less varenicline, than non-Appalachians. Conclusions: Utilization of all forms of tobacco cessation treatment throughout Kentucky, and particularly in rural Appalachia, remained limited despite Medicaid enrollment as well as coverage expansions. These findings suggest that barriers persist in access to tobacco cessation treatment for individuals in Medicaid.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5
JournalSubstance Abuse: Treatment, Prevention, and Policy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 20 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 The Author(s).


  • Affordable care act
  • Medicaid
  • Tobacco cessation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


Dive into the research topics of 'Appalachian disparities in tobacco cessation treatment utilization in Medicaid'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this