Medicare covers certain care that is a requirement for those with atrial fibrillation. Millions of American’s suffer from atrial fibrillation, a heart condition also known as AFib. However, this condition is commonly found in seniors.
Luckily, many seniors in the U.S. have Medicare health-care coverage once they turn 65. However, Medicare beneficiaries with this condition may wonder “does Medicare cover atrial fibrillation?” Understanding your health-coverage options for treatment is important.
Receiving treatment that your plan doesn’t cover can leave you with a large medical expense. Learn more about the coverage options, risk factors and prevention options here.
Medicare Coverage for Treating Atrial Fibrillation
According to the National Institutes of Health, treatment options may vary depending on how severe symptoms are. Nevertheless, Medicare covers a variety of treatments for beneficiaries.
Treatment for individuals with AFib includes prescriptions needed to treat the condition. Some patients require drugs that slow down the heart rate and restore it to a normal rhythm, or blood-thinning medications may be prescribed.
Another option is a procedure known as electrical cardioversion. This procedure works by sending low-energy shock waves to the heart to restore its rhythm to a normal rate.
What is AFib
The American Heart Association defines Atrial fibrillation as a form of irregular heartbeat. Although a healthy heart typically beats in a regular pattern. Pumping and distributing blood throughout your body while contracting and releasing.
Heartbeats of those with AFib experience a faster, more chaotic heartbeat that doesn’t distribute blood to the body as effectively.
This heart condition is a major public health concern in the U.S. Millions of Americans suffer from atrial fibrillation and the number will increase over the years.
Defining AFib by the American College of Cardiology, The American Heart Association, and the Heart Rhythm Society atrial fibrillation can be either, paroxysmal, persistent or permanent.
Individuals with a paroxysmal diagnosis have recurring atrial fibrillation that stops spontaneously or with assistance within 7 days of when it began.
A persistent classification is when the condition continues longer than 7 days. This diagnosis is after a person has the same symptoms for one year. This is most common in older patients with structural heart disease.
Those with permanent AFib have the condition even after restoring and/or maintaining sinus rhythm. This condition is also more common with older adults, with structural heart disease.
You can be born with atrial fibrillation or onset can start later in life. Although, this heart condition is very common in patients who are 80 years of age and older.
Atrial Fibrillation Risk Factors
Specific risk factors may increase your chances of acquiring atrial fibrillation. However, according to the Mayo Clinic, older patients (especially those 80+ years old) have a higher risk.
AFib is more often found in males rather than females, and those who drink and/or smoke also increase their risk.
Patients with a history of heart failure, heart attacks, or other heart conditions including heart surgery have a higher risk. Other factors include being over-weight, obstructive sleep apnea, high blood pressure, hyperthyroidism, diabetes, lung disease and more.
If you have a family history of AFib, you may also be at risk, but there’s good news. You can lower your risk if you know how. Medicare may also cover your costs of prevention services and or treatments; providing your doctor orders them.
Lowering Your Risk for Atrial Fibrillation
Sometimes making changes to lifestyle habits can be beneficial. According to the Mayo Clinic, if you are at risk of getting AFib, you may want to make some adjustments in your everyday life.
Change may seem scary, but it doesn’t have to be. Think of this as a time to better your daily lifestyle, for a happier and healthier you. Incorporate some exercise into your routine daily. Even walking for 30 minutes a day can do wonders for your heart health.
Maintain a healthy diet by eating a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, stay away from sugars and sodium. This will help maintain your weight, which is another way to lower your risk.
If you smoke, quit. It’s that simple. Limiting your caffeine and alcohol consumption will help keep your body and heart healthy.
Individuals with AFib should be aware of certain medications like OTC cold or cough medicines. These medications may cause an atrial fibrillation episode to flare up.
Medicare Part B Coverage for Atrial Fibrillation
Medicare Part B covers services from any participating outpatient care facilities. These services include doctor’s office visits, diagnostic testing, preventative screenings, and more.
An electrocardiogram (EKG) is a test that records and monitors your heart rate and electrical activity. If you have atrial fibrillation your doctor may order an electrocardiogram. Also, Medicare Part B offers coverage for a one-time screening.
If you’re unsure of your coverage options for this condition – contact your insurance provider to determine what your plan will cover.
Medicare Part A
Part A plan’s cover services for beneficiaries residing in an inpatient facility; such as hospitals or skilled nursing facilities. Atrial fibrillation patients receiving treatment at these facilities will get coverage under their Part A plan.
Treatment Services for Atrial Fibrillation
Medicare Part B covers many preventative screenings that can help lower your risk of atrial fibrillation. Your doctor must order these screenings for Medicare to cover the expenses.
Preventative benefits may include cardiovascular screenings every five years to test the levels of your cholesterol, lipids, and triglyceride.
Medicare offers counseling to help you quit smoking, another way to lower your risk. However, you must receive counseling by a qualifying health-care practitioner. Otherwise, your Part B plan won’t cover services.
Cardiac Rehabilitation programs can potentially help you lower your risk for atrial fibrillation; these programs include counseling, educational information, and exercise therapy. Eligible beneficiaries must have a referral from their doctor for Medicare to cover the costs of these programs.
Work With A Broker
If you or a loved one is suffering from atrial fibrillation, it’s important to act and start treating this issue. Without treatment, this condition can pose several health concerns and can even be fatal in severe cases.
Medicare offers coverage for many treatments and preventative services. Give us a call today and let us help you! We can determine what your plan will cover. Also, if you need additional coverage, we can help with that too.
Talk to one of our licensed Medicare agents today, with no cost to you. Our team is dedicated to helping current and future beneficiaries. We promise to help find the best coverage options for your health-care needs.
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