Health insurance for cardiovascular disease

Health insurance can cover a range of cardiac and cardiac-related services

In 2013, cardiovascular disease claimed the lives of 43,603 Australians. It was also the main cause for 518,563 hospitalisations in 2012/13 and played a role in another 680,000 hospitalisations.

These figures reveal just how big a problem heart disease is in Australia, and why it’s important to have an appropriate level of health insurance cover in place so you can access the best possible treatment.

What level of hospital insurance do you need to cover cardiac and cardiac-related services?

Before you start shopping for health insurance, it’s important to be aware that cardiac services and other related treatments are some of the most commonly restricted or excluded services among Australian health funds. Public hospital cover and basic hospital cover policies typically exclude cardiac and cardiac-related services altogether.

With this in mind, if you want hospital cover that will help cover the cost of treatment and services, you’ll need to take out a high-level policy. You will need at least a mid-level hospital cover policy, although some policies will only provide restricted cover and therefore limited benefits. For the highest level of protection available, you’ll need to select Top Hospital Cover.

How are cardiac and cardiac-related services covered?

Cardiac treatment involves the heart and blood vessels. This can include a wide range of procedures and treatments, such as:

  • Heart investigations, including angiographies
  • Angioplasty
  • Coronary artery bypass
  • Cardiac ablation
  • Treatment of coronary heart disease

Depending on the level of hospital cover you select, you will be able to enjoy cover for the following expenses:

  • Accommodation in a public or private hospital
  • Intensive care
  • Operating theatre fees
  • Doctors’ surgical fees and in-hospital consultations
  • Government-approved prostheses
  • Prescription medication as part of in-hospital treatment
  • Ward drugs and medical supplies
  • Nursing care

However, the exact type and level of cover available varies according to the policy you choose, so check with your health fund for full details of what is and isn’t covered.

Compare health insurance for general cardiac

You can find general cardiac in hospital cover, below are a selection of Finder partners that include the treatment. All have a 2 month waiting period for new conditions, and 12 months on pre existing.

Provider Excess Cost per month Apply

Mid Hospital

$500 $101.25 Go to site

White Classic

$500 $105.40 Go to site

Standard Hospital

$500 $109.38 Go to site

Core Hospital

$500 $139.75 More info

*price based on a single policy in Sydney, NSW.

Health Insurance Reforms coming April 2019

As part of the reforms to the Australian health insurance system, we will see hospital policies placed in four categories: gold, silver, bronze and basic.

Each of these tiers includes cover for a minimum number of clinical categories. If you wish to continue to claim benefits for cardiovascular treatments, you will need a policy of Silver tier or higher.

What is cardiovascular disease?

Cardiovascular disease is the collective term used to describe diseases of the heart and blood vessels. It includes conditions such as coronary heart disease, heart failure, cardiomyopathy and stroke, and according to the Australian Government’s Department of Health it is the leading cause of death and disease in Australia.

Coronary heart disease is the most common type of heart disease in Australia. Also referred to as ischaemic heart disease, it has two major forms: heart attack and angina.

Heart attacks occur when blood supply to the heart is completely blocked, and they can cause severe damage to the heart and its ability to function. Meanwhile, angina is a chronic condition resulting from temporary shortages of blood supply to the heart, and it can cause short episodes of chest pain and also an increased risk of heart attack.

What are the different types of heart conditions?

Some of the most common types of heart conditions that affect Australians are:

  • Heart failure and cardiomyopathy. Heart failure occurs when your heart is unable to maintain strong enough blood flow to satisfy all of your body’s requirements. This life-threatening condition most commonly develops over a number of years but can also occur quite suddenly. Meanwhile, cardiomyopathy is caused by a thickened, enlarged or stiff heart muscle, which reduces the heart’s ability to function and can often occur at the same time as heart failure.
  • Peripheral vascular disease. Peripheral vascular disease is a disease of the large arteries that supply blood to the peripheries. It occurs as a result of either:
  • Blocked arteries due to cholesterol or fat
  • Widening of the arteries
  • Stroke. A stroke occurs when an artery that supplies blood to the brain either quickly becomes blocked or starts to bleed. This can cause part of the brain to die, which in turn results in the sudden impairment of one or more capacities, for example speech or movement.

How common is cardiovascular disease?

Cardiovascular disease killed more than 43,000 Australians in 2013 alone, making it the cause of 30% of all deaths that year. An astonishing 3.72 million Australians suffer from cardiovascular disease in one form or another, one in every six people, and one Australian dies from cardiovascular disease every 12 minutes.

The highest rate of hospitalisation and death caused by cardiovascular disease occurs among lower socioeconomic groups, those living in remote areas of Australia, and among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

What are the risk factors for cardiovascular disease?

There are some risk factors for cardiovascular disease that we have no control over whatsoever, such as our age, genetic predisposition, ethnicity and sex. However, several factors that contribute to our risk of developing cardiovascular disease can be modified. These include:

  • Smoking
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Lack of exercise
  • Poor diet

Other medical factors that can play a role include high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels and obesity.

Treatment or management of cardiovascular disease

One of the most important steps when treating or managing cardiovascular disease is to address the modifiable risk factors that contribute to the development of the disease. This includes eating a healthy and balanced diet, getting regular exercise and quitting smoking.

In addition, there is a wide range of medicines and surgical treatment options available for different cardiovascular diseases. The types of treatment will depend on the type and severity of the disease.

What’s covered by the finder.com.au panel?

Fund What’s covered?
AHM Top Hospital Cover from AHM includes cover for any medical or surgical hospital admissions designed to investigate, diagnose, monitor and/or treat heart-related conditions. This includes admissions for heart-related problems, angiograms, stent insert, defibrillators, pacemakers, open-heart surgery, valve replacement and repair. Hospital accommodation, theatre fees, doctors’ fees, in-hospital pharmaceuticals and government-approved prostheses are all covered.
Australian Unity Platinum Hospital Cover from Australian Unity provides comprehensive cover for heart-related services. This includes hospital accommodation, theatre fees, doctors’ fees and consultations and in-hospital pharmaceuticals.
GMHBA Gold Hospital Cover from GMHBA includes cover for the medical treatment of or surgical procedures for cardiac conditions such as heart disease, arrhythmias and genetic defects. It provides cover for the cost of public or private hospital accommodation, theatre fees, in-hospital doctors’ fees, pharmaceuticals, government-approved prostheses and more.
HCF Premium Hospital Cover from HCF provides cover for heart surgery including diagnostic and therapeutic cardiac procedures such as coronary artery bypass surgery and heart valve replacement. The policy includes cover for hospital accommodation costs, operating theatre, intensive care, government-approved prostheses, pharmaceuticals and physiotherapy as part of your admission.
health.com.au The Heart Basic policy from health.com.au includes cover for cardiothoracic procedures, which refers to procedures that affect the heart and/or lungs. This includes cover for hospital treatment and accommodation, doctors’ bills and in-hospital pharmaceuticals.
HIF HIF GoldStar Hospital Cover includes cover for a wide range of cardiac procedures such as arrhythmias, artery bypass grafts, coronary angioplasty, congenital defects, heart disease, heart transplants, pacemakers, the insertion of stents and defibrillators. Accommodation in a public or private hospital is covered along with pharmaceuticals, theatre fees and doctors’ charges.
nib A Top Hospital policy from nib covers heart-related procedures and surgery for conditions such as heart disease, arrhythmias and congenital defects. This may include:
  • The surgical insertion of pacemakers and defibrillators
  • Stent insertion
  • Coronary angioplasty and artery bypass grafts
  • Heart transplants
  • Operations for congenital defects

The policy includes cover for hospital accommodation, intensive care, theatre fees, doctors’ fees, government-approved prostheses and prescription medication.

Transport Health Top Hospital Cover from Transport Health provides cover for heart surgery and for diagnostic and therapeutic cardiac services. This includes cover for hospital accommodation, operating theatre fees, intensive care, in-hospital pharmaceuticals and the medical gap.

Compare your health insurance options today

Picture: Shutterstock

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