Heart disease kills an estimated 647,000 Americans each year. It’s the leading cause of death for both men and women.1
Your risk for developing heart disease increases if you are:
- A woman age 55 or older
- A man age 45 or older
- From a family with a history of early heart disease
And while you can’t control your genetics, Medicare can help you to manage the risk of heart disease.
Use Your Medicare Preventive Heart Health Benefits
Medicare covers many preventive health screenings that help detect health problems early so they can be treated most effectively. Some services come at no additional cost to you, as long as your doctor accepts assignment, and some screenings and tests may be subject to time limits.
Medicare Part B covers the following items specifically for heart disease.
- Cardiovascular screening blood tests – once every five years1
- Cardiovascular behavior therapy visit – once per year with your primary care doctor or in a primary setting2
Cardiovascular Screening Blood Test
You can have your blood cholesterol, lipid and triglyceride levels checked once every five years. The goal of this test is to detect conditions that may lead to a heart attack or stroke.
Cardiovascular Behavior Therapy Visit
Once a year, you can see your primary care doctor for a cardiovascular behavioral therapy visit. The goal of this preventative service is to help lower your risk for heart disease. Your physician will discuss preventative options such as using aspirin, give your healthy eating tips, and you may also have your blood pressure checked.
Other covered preventive services that help reduce your heart disease risk include smoking cessation counseling, weight loss counseling, diabetes screenings and self-management training and medical nutrition therapy.
Talk About Heart Disease At Your Yearly Wellness Visit
When you first join Medicare and enroll in Part B, and every 12 months after that, Medicare covers a preventive care visit with your doctor called a Wellness Visit. At the visit, you and your doctor review your medical and family health history. Together, you develop or review your personalized prevention plan. The plan (a sort of checklist) includes screenings, shots and other recommendations your doctor suggests to help you stay healthy.
Take Advantage of Any Extras Your Medicare Plan Offers
In addition to the basic preventive services benefit you get with Original Medicare, many Medicare Advantage plans may offer extra programs and services to help you stay healthy. These may include:
- Wellness programs to help you assess your health risks, identify ways to reduce your risks and put what you learn into practice.
- Fitness programs and discounts on gym memberships to help you get and stay active.
- Nutrition and health coaching to help you follow a healthy diet, manage stress and improve your overall well-being.
- Disease management programs to help you live well with chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes and others.
While you can’t control your age or family history, you can help reduce your risk for heart disease by using your Medicare benefits and creating healthy lifestyle behaviors, such as not smoking, eating low-fat foods and increasing physical.