The healthcare costs generated by patients with chronic bronchitis

By Treven Pyles

Posted on July 03rd, 2020

Treatment charges for chronic bronchitis are based on many factors, and the costs for the patient may differ depending on whether care is delivered in a hospital, private clinic, or physician's office. Sometimes patients may have a choice of where to receive treatment, but other times the choice may be limited because of cost burden.

Breathing is fundamental to life and is usually effortless. Each breath delivers fresh oxygen to your bloodstream and sends carbon dioxide out. The air you inhale makes its way to your lungs through your windpipe or trachea, then through a branching network of smaller passageways called bronchi or bronchial tubes. But when your bronchial tubes become irritated or inflamed, breathing becomes more complicated.

Your constant coughing, wheezing, difficulty breathing, and chest pain could be a sign of a serious illness called chronic bronchitis - characterized by long-term inflammation of the bronchial tubes - the airways through which air passes to and from the lungs.

Chronic bronchitis is a serious and costly condition

The most important causative factor of chronic bronchitis is exposure to cigarette smoke either due to active smoking or passive inhalation, however, prolonged exposure to irritants and dust in the workplace including asbestos fibers can contribute to the development of chronic bronchitis.

Inhalation of sufficient quantities of asbestos fibers over protracted periods of time can lead to costly health conditions to treat. Even though asbestos is not commonly used today, those who were exposed to it on a regular basis, most often in a job where they worked directly with the material, should consider the following:

  • Airborne asbestos fibers are odorless and tasteless and pose a challenging and very lethal threat;
  • The effects of being exposed to asbestos may take many years to show up;
  • People who smoke and are also exposed to asbestos fibers are at a much higher risk of developing lung cancer.

The costs of physician visits, inpatient and outpatient treatment, or emergency care for acute exacerbations of chronic bronchitis are not insignificant:

  • Medication - Some popular combination drugs - which combine a bronchodilator with a corticosteroid typically cost between $300 and $400 per prescription.
  • Inhaled corticosteroids - A supply of 30 milliliters of one of the most widely used steroids costs around $130 depending on the pharmacy you visit.
  • Rescue inhalers - a portable nebulizer typically costs $200 to $300.
  • Oxygen therapy - the cost of respiratory care for a patient with chronic bronchitis receiving three months of oxygen therapy amounted to $3,000.
  • Specialized rehab program - between $300 - $600 per patient, for 4 weeks hospital-based program.

Acute worsening of the clinical symptoms of the disease have a major effect on healthcare costs

Many people who have chronic bronchitis eventually develop emphysema, which is a condition that causes progressive shortening of the breath. Together, the two conditions are referred to as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD. This condition makes it difficult for the lungs to take in air and expel it while breathing, due to the narrowing or obstruction of the airways. COPD is a frequent cause of hospitalizations, and disability, and generates a great economic burden.

Direct health care costs vary greatly, from a yearly direct medical cost of chronic bronchitis of $816 to $10,812 for a patient with severe COPD.

Sometimes chronic bronchitis can occur in combination with other lung problems, including:

The researchers also assessed the specificity of any association between chronic bronchitis and lung cancer and the study showed that lung cancer risk was increased among individuals with chronic bronchitis. Lung cancer costs vary by stage at diagnosis and histologic type.

Compensation can cover medical bills, travel for treatments, and other expenses associated with an asbestos-related diagnosis

Patients with chronic illnesses often struggle to pay the expenses associated with disease treatment because the costs often go far beyond medical bills.

If you have been diagnosed with chronic bronchitis and were employed in industries that involved direct or indirect work with asbestos materials, you should seek legal advice about bringing a compensation claim. The compensation you'll receive can help pay for your past and future medical bills and give you peace of mind that your family will be financially secure. The main legal financial compensation options for victims of asbestos exposure are asbestos trust funds and VA claims. Our attorneys have represented over 230,000 asbestos victims and are eager in helping you, too. With our knowledge and experience handling these cases, our lawyers will diligently assess your claim and pursue the compensation you deserve.