Does Medicare Cover Nicotine Patches?

Does Medicare Cover Nicotine Patches

Quitting smoking is one of the most important things you can do for your health. Smoking cessation aids like nicotine patches can make quitting easier.

Original Medicare does not cover nicotine patches, chewing gums, or lozenges, because they are available over the counter. These, as well as other over-the-counter medications, are excluded by law from Medicare coverage because a prescription is not necessary to purchase them.

However, some Medicare Advantage (Part C) plans may offer coverage for nicotine replacement therapy, such as nicotine patches. Check your Evidence of Coverage (EOC) or contact your plan to learn more.

Additionally, other services and prescription medications may be covered by Part B or Part D. Read on to learn more about smoking cessation services offered by Medicare.

Medicare smoking cessation coverage

If you want to quit smoking, Medicare Part B covers counseling to prevent tobacco use and tobacco-caused disease, called smoking cessation counseling.

If you use tobacco, Medicare covers two quit attempts per year, and four counseling sessions per quit attempt. This totals eight sessions per 12-month period. These sessions may be over the phone, face-to-face with just your provider, or group sessions.

Considered a preventive service, you pay $0 for these sessions as long as your provider accepts assignment. The Part B deductible does not apply.

If you choose group counseling, you must ensure the counselor is approved by Medicare. Use the Care Compare tool to determine whether your provider is Medicare-approved.

Cessation counseling can help someone:

  • Set a stop smoking date
  • Develop a support group from friends and family
  • Learn relaxation skills
  • Learn how to control their weight while quitting
  • Make a plan to deal with urges to smoke
  • Take steps to remove tobacco and tobacco products from their home, car, or office
  • Understand emotional and physical effects of quitting smoking
  • Consider stop-smoking medications

If your provider prescribes medications to help you quit smoking, they may be covered by Medicare Part D. These drugs can help reduce the urge to smoke, supporting your quitting.

To qualify, the medication must be prescribed by your doctor and approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to help with smoking cessation.

Why quitting smoking is important

Whether you're just thinking about quitting smoking, or you're already taking steps in that direction, you're making significant strides in improving your health both now and in the future.

Smoking cigarettes is the biggest risk factor for lung cancer, and in the U.S., cigarette smoking is linked to about 80-90% of lung cancer deaths.

Other reasons people want to quit smoking include:

  • Increased life expectancy
  • Decreased risk of many diseases, including heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), as well as others
  • Overall health improvement, such as better sense of taste and smell
  • Cost

For example, the average price for a pack of cigarettes is $8.39 (in the U.S. as of October of 2023). With that average, if you smoke one pack per day, you'll save more than $3,000 in just one year, and more than $35,000 after ten years (assuming current inflation rates continue).

Quitting smoking is critical for your overall health and wellbeing. Not only can it improve your physical health, but also your mental health. Smoking cessation methods can help you with the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal and give you the tools and knowledge necessary to quit and stay smoke-free.

Additional resources

Additional resources

Kolt Legette
Since 2003, Kolt Legette has helped clients navigate the often-confusing world of insurance. His number one goal is protecting the medical and financial wellbeing of every person he speaks with, whether they choose to buy insurance or not. Kolt loves representing the best brands in medical insurance as it allows him to provide side-by-side comparisons for his clients. This allows the client to decide which company works best for them. By putting the needs of the client above everything else, Kolt helps real people find affordable health insurance solutions for their most pressing healthcare needs. With his belief that peace of mind is priceless, Kolt's goal in every interaction is to make sure each person he speaks to leaves with the peace of mind they rightfully deserve.


Find a Medicare Plan in your area

It’s FREE with no obligation

Speak with a Licensed Insurance Agent

M-F 8:00am-10:00pm | Sat 9:00am-6:00pm EST