Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

MHealthy program offers $5 co-pay for OTC tobacco treatment products

MHealthy’s Tobacco Independence Program (MTIP) now includes coverage for generic over-the-counter (OTC) tobacco treatment products with a $5 co-pay per one-month supply.


Covered products include the generic nicotine patch, generic nicotine gum, and generic nicotine lozenge. Brand name OTC nicotine-replacement products are not covered, and coverage for prescription tobacco treatment medications has not changed.

The benefit is available to U-M employees and their dependents covered under the U-M Prescription Drug Plan. Generic OTC product coverage is for up to a 180-day supply every 12 months.

“Research shows that the use of tobacco treatment pharmaceuticals has been found to increase cessation rates by as much as 40 percent,” says Dr. Robert Winfield, chief health officer. “We hope that making these products more affordable will further encourage employees who are considering quitting tobacco to take the first step and enroll in MTIP to get the additional support they may need.”

To be eligible for the $5-per-month co-pay, employees must sign up for MTIP and present one of the following to a retail pharmacy that participates in the U-M Prescription Drug Plan:

• An authorization letter from an MTIP tobacco treatment specialist
• A doctor’s prescription

Employees should note that beginning in 2011, new federal guidelines will require a doctor’s prescription for OTC products in order to claim reimbursement for the $5 co-pay through a Flexible Spending Account.

To sign up for MTIP and receive an authorization letter, call the MTIP tobacco treatment specialist at 734-998-2193. The specialist will explain the process, ask a few tobacco-related questions, and provide recommendations on the tobacco treatment program that best suit the employee’s goals and lifestyle. The specialist will provide pharmacy forms that authorize the reduced-cost OTC products.

MTIP was created to support faculty and staff, and their spouses and Other Qualified Adults (OQA) who want to quit smoking before all U-M campuses go smoke-free in July 2011. Benefits-eligible employees and their enrolled spouses or OQA dependents that complete an MTIP program also may qualify to receive a $100 before-tax incentive.

Since its launch earlier this year, more than 100 employees have enrolled in MTIP.

“The average smoker attempting to quit on their own may try up to 11 times before achieving long-term success,” adds Winfield. “MTIP is using the most successful methods for ending tobacco addiction and increasing the likelihood that its participants will successfully quit smoking for good.”

MTIP is free to eligible U-M faculty and staff and their enrolled spouses and OQAs. For more information, call 734-998-2193 or go to

To learn about the Smoke-Free Campus initiative, visit