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Saving Money on Heart Disease Treatment

Saving Money

What Are Your Rights?

At the
moment, there are no acts or laws in place to ensure that the 83 million U.S.
adults who are suffering from heart disease receive help with their treatment.

What Problems Might You Run Into?

“Almost all
of the tests currently used to check heart function are seen as necessary by
insurance companies,” says Dr. Nieca Goldberg, a cardiologist and medical
director of the Joan H. Tisch Center for Women’s Health in New York. “There
aren’t really any of the standard tests that you’d have trouble getting
covered.” But she did caution about some of the newer scans available.
“Something like the latest CT scan, which looks for plaque in arteries, might
not be guaranteed coverage and could cost $500 or $600,” she says. “Don’t think
you need to get a procedure done just because it’s available and brand new.
Definitely talk to your doctor and insurance company first so you aren’t
saddled with a bill you can’t pay.”

How Can You Save Money on Treatment?

Having heart
disease can end up costing you a lot of money. According to the American Heart
Association, a 2009 survey found that more than half of people suffering from
heart disease had difficulties paying for all of their treatment, even if they
had health insurance. And 46 percent of those who had a hard time financially
delayed getting recommended care.

One way you
can improve your heart health is to make lifestyle changes—stop smoking, eat
healthier, exercise more. And these are things that won’t necessarily cost a
lot of money. “It’s expensive to meet one-on-one with a nutritionist, so look
into doing a group program like Weight Watchers,” Dr. Goldberg says. “Or see if
the hospital you’ve gone to has nutritionists on staff. That type of service won’t
be covered by insurance typically, but going to a hospital nutritionist instead
of one in private practice will cut down on costs.” As for exercising, walking
is a great way to get moving. To make sticking with your workout regimen
easier, the American Heart Association has a program called My Walking Club
that pairs you up with other walkers in your area. Visit to either
start a club of your own or join an existing one.

A major part
of treatment costs for heart disease are the prescriptions you’ll be put on—a
combination of anticoagulants, aspirin, ACE inhibitors, beta blockers, and
more—which can become very expensive. “Antiplatelet medicines like Plavix are
brand name and there aren’t really generic options yet, keeping their price
high,” Dr. Goldberg says. “But both cholesterol-lowering drugs and blood
pressure medications are available in generic forms, so you’ll likely be able
to save money there.” She says to make sure to shop around since these are
often drugs you’re going to be on for a long time, if not forever. “Do price
comparisons and see what CVS, Walgreens, even Costco would charge,” she says.
If there’s no option besides a name brand, high-priced drug, look into the
Partnership for Prescription Assistance ( The program has teamed up with most major pharmaceutical
companies to offer discounted medication to those who can prove their income is
below a certain level.

Posted by: Dr.Health

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