So you or a loved one has been diagnosed with e-cigarette or vaping product use-associated lung injury (EVALI). While your initial concern will likely be about treatment, medical bills may be looming in the back of your mind as well.
Whether you have insurance or not, affording medical expenses for vaping-related illness may still be costly. It's important to be honest with your physician if you think you may not be able to afford the costs associated with treatment, so that they can offer you possible financial solutions.
"If there is suspicion of a vaping-related illness, the person should be evaluated by a healthcare professional," says Dr. Joshua Mansour, a triple board certified physician specializing in internal medicine, oncology, and hematology. "It is important to let the healthcare professional know about these financial issues as there can many times be alternative solutions."
Obviously you should consult your insurance plan to find out what is covered and what isn't.
If you aren't insured, don't fret. There are plenty of options and assistance programs that can alleviate some of the cost. You should visit HealthCare.com to see what kind of coverage you qualify for, which would then in turn assist with any vaping-related illness medical bills and expenses. Websites including WebMD.com/RX can help with the cost of prescriptions via pharmacy coupons and discounts.
You can try to negotiate a discount for paying the bill in full or even set up a monthly payment plan if you can't afford the lump sum at that given time. There are other federal or state-sponsored programs and even charitable organizations—like the HealthWell Foundation—you can reach out to for assistance.
If you're struggling with vaping addiction, the best thing you can do before getting vaping-related illness and injury (and potential medical expenses) is to quit. Easier said than done, there are plenty of cost-effective options for users looking to stop. States offer support lines (1-800-QUIT-NOW) with resources including counselors trained in smoking cessation. You can also get free nicotine replacement gum, patches or lozenges to help you kick the habit. Support groups like Narcotics Anonymous can offer assistance as well.
If you do end up paying out-of-pocket for your medical expenses, you may be able to seek legal remedy to recoup those funds. Recent research shows that e-cigarette companies may have knowingly marketed the products to young people, despite their addictive potential. If that is the case, you may be entitled to financial compensation. Find out more here.