The State of Wisconsin and UW-CTRI partnered to promote the Wisconsin Medicaid Cessation Benefit, which provides no-cost tobacco cessation counseling and pharmacotherapy services to help people with low incomes quit smoking, vaping, or chewing tobacco products. Covered medications include all legend drugs and over-the-counter products, with a written prescription from a prescriber. Medicaid does not require prior authorization for tobacco-cessation counseling services or products within approved diagnoses and does not require a co-payment for tobacco-cessation services.
The promotion used an array of communication vehicles to spread the word, including Facebook ads, Google search advertising, billboards, and bus ads.
In September, the state Division of Medicaid Services (DMS) recorded a hold message about the benefit, which is heard by providers and members who call Medicaid service phone lines. The Medicaid call centers have talking points ready to assist if anyone has follow-up questions after hearing the hold message.
DMS also updated the online portal page for ForwardHealth, which is a system that brings together many Department of Health Services (DHS) benefit programs with the goal of improving health outcomes for members and creating efficiencies for providers.
On the ForwardHealth Portal page, visitors can:
- Learn more about the tobacco-cessation benefit for Wisconsin Medicaid members.
- Learn about the Wisconsin Tobacco Quit Line.
- See specific information about tobacco-cessation benefit policy.
- Download posters and brochures about the benefit.
- Download posters and brochures for the Wisconsin Tobacco Quit Line.
The benefit was also featured in the “What’s New?” and “Hot Topics” sections on the portal.
DHS, DMS and UW-CTRI collaborated to share this information with providers via the publication ForwardHealth Update, which goes to all Medicaid providers, Medicaid-contracted HMOs and other managed care programs.
DHS partnered with KW2, a full-service ad and digital agency, on a promotional campaign about the Wisconsin Medicaid Cessation Benefit. KW2 collaborated with DMS and UW-CTRI to update the “Medicaid Covers It” campaign. Timed to coincide with the United States Housing and Urban Development smoke-free rule, which took effect July 30, 2018, the promotion used new marketing tools, such as geo-targeted social media advertising, to better reach public-housing residents. In addition, a direct mailer promoting the Medicaid cessation benefit was also sent to public-housing residents in early August.
From July to October 2018, the campaign delivered approximately 24 million impressions (i.e., the number of times it was seen) across all media tactics. Online advertising for the campaign drove 94 percent of all traffic to the “Afford to Quit” page on the website for the Wisconsin Tobacco Quit Line. Of clicks from paid search, more than half came from users with lower incomes.
“It’s critically important that we reach those who are hit the hardest by tobacco,” said Tobacco Prevention and Control Program Section Chief Vicki Huntington. “This partnership is an important step in reducing tobacco disparities in Wisconsin.”