Our infographics from earlier this year on the costs of smoking to the Arkansas Medicaid program and private insurance are highlighted in a new blog post from the University of Washington’s Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), “Determining tobacco’s cost in Arkansas.”
The post provides background on why and how we created the infographics, which illustrate our estimates that smoking-attributable health conditions cost $795 million a year to Arkansas Medicaid and $542 million a year to private insurance.
Our project began as an effort to update an estimate that was presented to the Tax Reform and Relief Task Force of the Arkansas General Assembly in 2018. That estimate, which placed smoking-related Medicaid costs at $293 million annually, was not based upon the healthcare experience of Arkansans and did not account for expanded coverage through Arkansas Works.
The blog post notes that we used data from sources including IHME and the Arkansas All-Payer Claims Database to create our estimates of tobacco’s financial costs. It also discusses the impact our analysis had on the 2019 legislative session in Arkansas and highlights how important good data and sound methods are to policy discussions.
Read the full piece on healthdata.org.