Heart disease, also referred to as cardiovascular disease, is the number one killer of Americans. According to a November 2017 CDC study, roughly 1 in 4 deaths reported yearly are due to heart disease—about 610,000 Americans every year.

Will Medicare Cover Costs for Cardiovascular Diseases?

Original Medicare will pay 100% of its approved amount for blood tests to check your cholesterol, lipid and triglyceride levels even before you have met the Part B deductible.

You will not pay a copay or a deductible for these screenings if you see doctors or other health care providers who take assignment. Doctors who take assignment cannot charge you more than the Medicare approved amount. You do not need to show signs of heart disease or have any particular risk factors for Medicare to cover the full cost of these tests.

If you have a Medicare Advantage (MA) Plan, it covers all preventive services the same as Original Medicare. This means your MA Plan will not be allowed to charge cost-sharing fees (coinsurances, copays or deductibles) for preventive services that Original Medicare does not charge for as long as you see in-network providers. If you see providers that are not in your plan’s network, charges will typically apply.

However, if you need extensive care and procedures like angioplasty to manage your condition, you might have to deal with out-of-pocket costs. The hit to your wallet may be harder than the one to your health

How Can Critical Illness Plans Help?

A critical illness plan is a form of supplemental insurance that is triggered when you suffer a qualifying illness or injury. These can include everything from a heart attack or stroke to aortic surgery or a transplant. Critical illness plans are designed to give you peace of mind and financial security to help you through a difficult time.

It pays out in a lump sum, which pays for medical care, rehabilitation, home care, prescriptions, and day to day expenses that cannot be covered due to lost wages. The amount you can expect to receive will depend on your carrier, type of plan and medical condition.

February is American Heart Month, when many Americans commit to lifestyle changes to protect themselves from heart disease. While weighing your options, consider supplementing your coverage to include a critical illness plan. It may save your savings while the doctors save your life.

Wiley Long is founder and president of Medigap Advisors, and is passionate about helping people navigate the confusing waters of Medicare. He is the author of The Medicare Playbook: Designing Your Successful Health Coverage Strategy, a clear and simple explanation so you can make the most of your Medicare coverage.