If you’re one of the 45 million adult smokers in this country, you may have made a New Year’s resolution to finally quit smoking.
If so, congratulations! Quitting smoking is one of the best things that you can do for your overall health, and it’s also one of the best things you can do for your personal finances. Between the cost of cigarettes, increased cost of health insurance, and ancillary costs such as dental cleanings and dry cleaning, it’s estimated that a forty-year old who quits smoking and puts the savings into a 401(k) would have saved $250,000 by the age of seventy.
If you’re like most smokers, it will not have been the first time you tried to quit. Most smokers take between 8 and 11 attempts before they’re able to quit smoking successfully, and the costs of treatments and aides can add up quickly.
The good news is that many health insurances will help fund your quest to quit smoking. The reason is quite simple… non-smokers file far fewer claims that smokers do, so it’s in any health insurance company’s best financial interest to help you quit smoking.
Once you’ve made the decision to quit smoking, call the customer support phone number on the back of your card and ask them about the quitting-smoking benefits available with your health insurance plan. Be thorough! Evidence strongly suggests that a combination of mood-altering drugs, nicotine-replacement therapy (NRT) and counseling can be three times as effective as trying to go cold turkey. Even if you don’t use the full benefits available with your health insurance plan, it pays to be aware of all your options.
Each state also provides a toll-free telephone quit smoking line with counselors available to help you determine the products and treatments that may be effective for you. In most states, the counselors will take you through a series of questions to help determine your smoking habits and what kind of smoker are you to help you determine the best course of treatment to help you quit. To find the number in your state, check the North American Quitline Consortium at www.naquitline.org.
Many large companies also provide resources to help their employees quit smoking, so if you are employed at one, be sure to check with your human resources department to see what resources may be available to you.
Remember, though, even if you have to cough up some out-of-pocket money to quit smoking, over time, it’s almost certain to be less than the cost of continuing to smoke!
For more basic tips on saving on your healthcare, see Some Simple Ways to Save on Your Healthcare Costs
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