Woman snapping a cigarette in half

Covering the cost of nicotine replacement therapy with health insurance

Trying to quit smoking? Many health funds now offer a helping hand to those trying to kick the habit.

While you could argue that this is because they have a vested interest in helping their members become healthier and therefore less likely to make a claim on their health insurance, any additional help can be welcome when you're struggling to bin the butts for good.

Read on to learn about the smoking cessation services that can be claimed for with health insurance, and which funds offer cover.

Which funds cover smoking cessation and nicotine replacement therapy (NRT)?


Which funds cover smoking cessation and nicotine replacement therapy (NRT)?

Smoking cessation services are frequently included in wellness programs and if you're a smoker with extras cover, you may be able to gain access to these services, depending on your insurer and the level of cover you have.

Approved smoking cessation courses that many insurers provide coverage for include Allen Carr's Easyway, Smokenders and UIT Foundation. You may also be able to claim for NRT devices such as patches, gum, lozenges and inhalers.

Health fundExtras policies and annual benefit limits*Waiting periods
AHM health insurance
  • Lifestyle Extras. $250 per person
  • Family Extras. $250 per person
  • Super Extras. $250 per person
  • No waiting period
Australian UnityQuit Smoking Service Benefit
  • Up to $120 on completion of an approved course
  • $240 per person lifetime limit
  • A valid receipt is required when claiming
  • No waiting period
CUA Health logo
  • Total Extras. $250 per person
  • Classic Extras. $100 per person
  • 6 months
GMHBA health fund
  • Silver Extras. $100 per person
  • Gold Extras. $150 per person
  • 2 months
HCF health insuranceHCF approved quit smoking programs
  • No waiting period
health.com.au health insurance
  • Extras 50. $200 per person
  • Pulse Extras. $150 per person
  • 2 months
HIF health insurance
  • Premium Options. $125 per person
  • Super Options. $100 per person
  • Special Options. $75 per person
  • Saver Options. $50 per person
  • 2 months
nib health insurance
  • Top Extras. $200 per person
  • 6 months

*The policies listed in this table are extras only. However, in most cases these can be combined with hospital cover.

Health fundExtras policies and annual benefit limits*Waiting periods
ahm
  • Lifestyle Extras. $250 per person
  • Family Extras. $250 per person
  • Super Extras. $250 per person
  • No waiting period
Australian UnityQuit Smoking Service Benefit
  • Up to $120 on completion of an approved course
  • $240 per person lifetime limit
  • A valid receipt is required when claiming
  • No waiting period
Budget Direct
  • New Family Package. $150 per person
  • Family Value Package. $150 per person
  • Established Family Package. $150 per person
  • Freedom Package. $150 per person
  • 2 months
Bupa
  • Bronze Extras. $50 per person
  • Your Choice Extras. $100 per person
  • Silver Extras. $100 per person
  • Gold Extras. $150 per person
  • 6 months
Cessnock District Health Fund
  • Smart Cover. $50 per person
  • 2 months
CUA Health
  • Total Extras. $250 per person
  • Classic Extras. $100 per person
  • 6 months
GMF
  • Flexi Extras. $200 per person
  • Flexi Extras Mid. $250 per person
  • Flexi Extras Plus. $350 per person
  • 2 months
GMHBA
  • Silver Extras. $100 per person
  • Gold Extras. $150 per person
  • 2 months
HBF
  • Flexi Extras. $200 per person
  • Flexi Extras Mid. $250 per person
  • Flexi Extras Plus. $350 per person
  • 2 months
HCF
  • HCF-approved quit smoking programs
  • No waiting period
Health Care Insurance
  • Premier Extras. $350 per person
  • 2 months
health.com.au
  • Extras 50. $200 per person
  • Pulse Extras. $150 per person
  • 2 months
HIF
  • Premium Options. $125 per person
  • Super Options. $100 per person
  • Special Options. $75 per person
  • Saver Options. $50 per person
  • 2 months
Latrobe Health Services
  • Premier Silver. $70 per course
  • 2 months
Medibank
  • Top Extras 55. $100 per person
  • Top Extras 70. $150per person
  • Top Extras 85. $200 per person
  • 2 months
Mildura Health Fund
  • Five Star Extras. $150 per person
  • 6 months
nib
  • Top Extras. $200 per person
  • 6 months
onemedifund
  • Extras Plus. $150 per person
  • Basic Extras. $150 per person
  • 2 months
Peoplecare
  • Basic Extras. $100 per person
  • Mid Extras. $150 per person
  • High Extras. $200 per person
  • Premium Extras. $250 per person
  • 6 months
Health Partners
  • Gold Extras. $100 per person
  • National Extras. $100 per person
  • 2 months
Phoenix Health Fund
  • YoungSavers. $100 per person
  • Value 500. $100 per person
  • 2 months
Queensland Country Health Fund
  • Premium Extras. $150 per person
  • Essential Extras. $125 per person
  • Select Extras. $125 per person
  • Young Extras. $125 per person
  • 2 months
Transport Health
  • Healthy Choice Extras. $300 per person
  • Top Extras. $300 per person
  • 2 months
CBHS health fund
  • Restricted health fund
  • Top Extras. $100 per person
  • Intermediate Extras. $100 per person
  • Essential Extras. $100 per person
  • 2 months
Defence Health
  • Restricted health fund
  • Premier Extras. $180 per person
  • Value Extras. $100 per person
  • 2 months
Doctors Health Fund
  • Restricted health fund
  • Total Extras. $200 per person
  • 2 months
RT Health
  • Restricted health fund
  • Premium Extras. $150 person
  • Smart Extras. $150 person
  • Value Extra. $100 person
  • 2 months
TUH
  • Restricted health fund
  • Healthy Options 60% Extras. $150 per person
  • Family Extras. $240 per person
  • Mid-Range Extras. $200 per person
  • Comprehensive Extras. $270 per person
  • 2 months
Westfund
  • Platinum Extras. $250 per person
  • Gold Extras. $250 per person
  • Value Extras. $100 per person
  • 2 months

*The policies listed in this table are extras only. However, in most cases these can be combined with hospital cover.

What portion of the costs are covered?

The cost of smoking cessation courses is fully or partially covered by those health funds mentioned above. You would be required to pay for the course yourself upfront and, upon successful completion, claim the cost back from your health fund.

While NRT such as patches are readily available over the counter at pharmacies, you would need to get your GP to write you a prescription for them in order to claim them on your health insurance.

Any other services that might be useful to smokers?

  • Psychologists. Medicare rebates are available for treatment by registered psychologists under the Australian Government's Better Access to Mental Health Care initiative, which provides assistance to those with drug use disorders, including nicotine addiction.
  • Medical practitioners. You can claim a Medicare rebate for consultations with medical practitioners who specialise in tobacco treatment.
  • Pharmacists. Your local chemist can provide quit smoking information, and can also support, recommend and assist with NRT. There is no fee for these services.
  • Medications. Prescription medications subsidised by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) include nicotine patches, varenicline and bupropion. Other over-the-counter medications, such as lozenges, gum and inhalers are not subsidised.
  • The NSW Quitline (13 QUIT). A confidential telephone information and advice service for the cost of a local call (except mobiles), which provides encouragement, resources and support to help smokers quit.
  • iCanQuit website. An interactive website providing the information and tools needed to attempt to quit smoking, including a goal tracker and savings calculator.
  • Quit for New Life. A NSW smoking cessation program helping pregnant Aboriginal women to quit smoking.
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Richard Laycock

Richard is the insurance editor at finder.com.au. He is on a mission to make insurance easier to understand.

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