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5 Steps to a Healthier Heart With Medicare

Taking care of its members’ hearts is something Medicare takes to heart. Medicare covers a variety of screenings. They help identify risk factors early. This way members can take quick action based on their results.

Step 1: Keep your heart healthy.

A healthy heart starts with knowing your numbers. If you have Original Medicare, Part B includes cardiovascular screening blood tests for its members once every 5 years. These tests measure cholesterol, lipid, and triglyceride levels. Higher levels could mean you’re at risk for heart attack or stroke. You pay nothing for the tests if the doctor accepts Medicare assignment.

Medicare Advantage plans also cover cardiovascular screenings. They may also cover some healthy heart extras, like fitness benefits and discounts, including membership in SilverSneakers .

Step 2: Change your behavior.

Original Medicare Part B covers a cardiovascular behavioral therapy visit one time a year with your primary care doctor to help lower your risk for cardiovascular disease. During this visit, your doctor may discuss aspirin use, if appropriate, check your blood pressure and give you tips on eating well and exercising. You pay nothing if your primary care provider accepts Medicare assignment.

If you have two or more serious chronic conditions (like arthritis and diabetes) that you expect to last at least a year, Medicare may pay for a health care provider’s help. Your conditions are managed through chronic care management services . The service includes a complete care plan that lists your health problems, goals, other providers, medications, community services you need, and other health information.

If you agree to this service, your provider prepares the care plan for you or your caregiver. They’ll help with medication management. And provide 24/7 access for urgent care management needs, give support when you go from one health care setting to another, review your medicines and how you take them, and help with other chronic care needs.

You pay a monthly fee for the service. And the Part B deductible and coinsurance under Original Medicare apply. If you have supplemental insurance like a Medigap plan or have Medicaid, it may help cover the monthly fee.

Step 3: Add medications.

Medications can manage many heart conditions. Heart patients who have Original Medicare for their health coverage can join a separate Medicare prescription drug (Part D) plan. Another option is selecting a Medicare Advantage plan with drug benefits for your health care coverage. A 2021 study published by an American Heart Association Journal found patients could save out-of-pocket costs by using equally effective and less expensive generic heart medications. Ask your doctor if there’s a generic option available for you.

Step 4: Get treatment.

Original Medicare Part A covers medically necessary hospitalization, procedures, and devices for a heart condition. A few examples are:

  • Coronary bypass surgery
  • Cardiac catheterization
  • Implantable automatic defibrillator
  • Left ventricular assist device
  • Carotid artery stenting with embolic protection
  • Heart transplant
  • Cardiovascular illnesses that require a hospital stay

Original Medicare Part B covers procedures that take place in an outpatient setting. Part B also covers doctors’ services for devices and procedures performed in a hospital setting.

You pay nothing with Original Medicare Part A during your first 60 days of hospitalization per benefit period. After meeting your Part B deductible, you pay 20% of the approved amount not paid by Medicare.

Step 5: Protect your heart.

Original Medicare Part B covers regular and intensive cardiac rehab programs. Programs include exercise, education, and counseling for people who’ve had at least one of the following conditions.

  • Stable chronic heart failure
  • Current stable angina pectoris (chest pain)
  • A heart attack in the last 12 months
  • Coronary artery bypass surgery
  • A heart valve repair or replacement
  • A coronary angioplasty (a medical procedure used to open a blocked artery) or coronary stenting (a procedure used to keep an artery open)
  • A heart or heart-lung transplant

You pay 20% of the Medicare-approved amount after you meet your deductible. For cardiac rehab in a hospital setting, there’s also a hospital deductible.

Ready to take the first step?

It’s all about finding the right plan for your heart health needs. Call one of our licensed insurance agents today.

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