- Chantix is a medication doctors prescribe to help people quit smoking.
- Medicare requires prescription drug plans to cover Chantix.
- Costs for Chantix can vary based on your prescription drug plan, but a monthly supply is usually under $10.
Medicare prescription drug plans cover several prescription drugs designed to help you quit smoking. One of them is Chantix, a medicine that lessens the effects of and reduces cravings for smoking.
Keep reading to find out more about Chantix and how Medicare covers different methods to help you quit smoking.
Medicare requires Medicare Part D plans to cover certain medications designed to help people quit smoking. Chantix is one of those medications. Other medications that Medicare Part D should cover include:
- Zyban (bupropion)
- nicotine replacement therapy inhalers
- nicotine replacement therapy sprays
Medicare Part D plans each have a formulary, which lists the plan’s covered medications. These drugs are usually further divided into tiers. Tier 1 medications are usually generic, while tier 5 contains specialty drugs.
Knowing which tier a medication falls under can provide an indication of how much you might pay in coinsurance for your prescription.
According to GoodRx, Medicare prescription drug plans typically classify Chantix as a tier 3 medication, which is a preferred brand name drug.
What about Part C (Medicare Advantage) coverage?
Medicare requires Medicare Advantage plans to offer the same coverage level as original Medicare and stand-alone Part D plans. If you have Part D coverage through Medicare Advantage, your plan should cover Chantix.
Can a Medigap plan help with my costs?
Medigap is a term for Medicare supplement plans that some people with original Medicare purchase to help reduce their out-of-pocket costs.
Although some older Medigap plans provide coverage for prescription drugs, more recent plans (those sold since 2006) are not allowed to cover prescription drug costs.
When you have Medicare, your costs for Chantix may depend on how you pay for your medications and what coverage stage you are in.
If you’re wondering exactly what Chantix will cost you, you can visit the GoodRx website and enter information about your specific Medicare prescription drug plan by clicking the “See My Plan’s Prices” button.
These costs are estimates and may vary based on your plan, the pharmacy you use, and the amount in your supply.
You can also contact your plan to find a list of approved pharmacies or contact the pharmacy to find an estimated listing of costs.
The following programs may help you save money on your medications:
- Medicaid. Medicaid is a state-run assistance program that can help you pay for medications if you have trouble affording them. Click here to learn more about Medicaid’s state prescription drug resources.
- Medicare Extra Help program. The Medicare Extra Help program provides prescription drug cost assistance for those who meet income qualifications. These criteria change on a yearly basis, so check your status each year.
- Medicare savings programs. A Medicare savings program helps you pay for healthcare costs including prescription drugs. If you qualify for a savings program, you also automatically qualify for Extra Help.
- Local community assistance programs. Several community organizations, including extensions of nonprofit chapters like the American Heart Association and the Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) may provide assistance with medications.
- Manufacturer coupons. Many prescription drug manufacturers offer discount coupons that you can either mail in after you use the coupon or submit directly to your pharmacy to save money on your medications.
- Prescription drug discount websites. There are several websites that offer prescription drug discount cards or other information on medicine cost-savings. Examples of these include AmericasPharmacy, Choice Drug Card, GoodRx, and ScriptSave WellRx.
While this may not apply to Chantix, you can also ask your doctor about generic options or if there are less-expensive options to help pay for your other medications.
Chantix is the brand name for the medication varenicline. Doctors prescribe this medication to help a person quit smoking.
Chantix isn’t a nicotine replacement therapy. Unlike nicotine patches, gums, or sprays, Chantix doesn’t contain nicotine.
Instead, Chantix works by attaching to receptors in your body that are stimulated when you smoke. These receptors are what give you that “feel-good” sensation when smoking. When the nicotine wears off, you start to crave another cigarette.
Chantix “blocks” nicotine from attaching to the receptors. It keeps it from giving you the same high and crash, which ideally will help you to quit more effectively.
Chantix has some side effects. These may include:
- problems sleeping
You should also talk to your doctor about any medicines and supplements you take to make sure they won’t interact with Chantix.
Some people may use Chantix and nicotine replacement therapies together, but this may result in greater symptoms of abdominal upset.
Medicare offers coverage for smoking cessation to help you or a loved one quit. Because quitting smoking can significantly improve a person’s health, it is considered preventative care.
In addition to helping pay for medications to quit smoking, Medicare will also cover counseling services, including up to eight counseling sessions per year without a copayment. You must go to a Medicare-approved provider for these sessions.
While prescription drugs and counseling sessions are covered, original Medicare doesn’t cover over-the-counter products for quitting smoking. These include nicotine gum options or nicotine patches.
However, if you have Medicare Advantage, your plan might offer some coverage or discounts on these products. Check your plan details or contact your plan provider directly for more information.
Medicare prescription drug plans will cover Chantix to help you quit smoking. The covered costs will depend on your prescription drug plan, so contact your plan and ask for a cost estimate.
Your plan may also require you to use an approved pharmacy.
If you’ve tried to quit before but you need more help, trying Chantix along with Medicare-approved smoking cessation counseling may work for you.