Health insurance for cardiovascular disease

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

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the number one cause of death for Australians. CVD was responsible for the deaths of 43,447 Aussies in 2017, making up about 27% of all deaths in Australia, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). CVD is also an incredible burden on the health system with 576,516 Aussies seeking treatment in hospitals in 2016-17, according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

With this in mind, we're looking into what level of cover you need from private health insurance, what services are covered and how much treatment can cost you.

What level of hospital insurance do I need?

With the recent reforms to private health insurance, all gold and silver policies must offer cover for "heart and vascular system" as a standard. However, some bronze plus policies offer cover for these treatments, which is why it's important to compare your options.

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 and excess is $500.

If you wish to continue to claim benefits for cardiovascular treatments, you will need a policy of Bronze [+], Silver or higher tier.

Provider Tier Price per month Apply

Starter Silver

Silver $105.65 Go to site

Picture not described: nib-life-insurance-logo.jpg Image: Suppliednib helath insurance logo

Bronze Hospital Plus

Bronze $86.05 Go to site

Hospital Silver

Silver $109.55 Go to site

*Quotes are based on a single individual with less than $90,000 income, $500 excess and living in Sydney.

What are cardiac services and what's 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 vary according to the policy you choose. Make sure to check with your health fund for full details of what is and isn’t covered.

Why do you need cover for cardiovascular diseases?

Getting treatment for cardiovascular diseases can be expensive. According to Private Health Australia's Annual Hospital High Claims Report for 2019, treatment of cardiovascular diseases made up 15% of the top 20 most expensive claims in 2018.

While most patients aren't going to get stung with a huge bill for treatment. For example, the table below highlights the top 20 most expensive claims for cardiovascular diseases.

Paid Gender Age Description
$324,647 M 80 Heart valve disease
$274,928 F 72 Multiple heart valve diseases
$260,969 F 72 Complications of heart disease
$256,377 M 75 Heart bypass
$236,212 M 70 Heart bypass
$235,916 M 84 Aortic aneurysm
$233,816 M 76 Coronary heart disease
$231,535 M 76 Irregular heartbeat
$226,407 M 57 Infection of heart lining and valves
$223,996 M 83 Complete heart block
$222,576 M 72 Heart bypass
$206,469 M 77 Multiple heart valve diseases
$206,112 M 73 Heart attack
$201,351 M 69 Heart failure
$200,719 F 66 Heart valve disease
$199,272 M 71 Aortic stenosis
$196,941 M 64 Heart bypass
$195,982 F 72 Stroke
$191,658 M 59 Aortic stenosis
$185,203 F 70 Aortic stenosis

Source: PHA Annual Hospital High Claims 2019 Report

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.

Cardiovascular disease is sometimes used interchangeably to refer to a range of circulatory conditions including:

  • Ischaemic heart diseases (angina, heart attack and other ischaemic heart diseases)
  • Cerebrovascular diseases (stroke and other cerebrovascular diseases)
  • Oedema
  • Heart failure
  • Diseases of the arteries, arterioles and capillaries

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 enough blood flow to support your body. 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.
  • 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, some people struggle with speech or movement following a stroke.

How common is cardiovascular disease?

Cardiovascular disease killed more than 43,447 Australians in 2017 alone, making it the cause of 27% of all deaths that year. Almost 4 million Australians suffer from some form of cardiovascular disease (about in every six people) and one Australian dies from cardiovascular disease every 12 minutes.

What are the risk factors for cardiovascular disease?

You can develop cardiovascular disease in a number of ways. Some you have no control over such as your age, genetic predisposition, ethnicity and sex. However, several factors that contribute to our risk of developing cardiovascular disease including:

  • 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. Not only can your private health insurance help you with the hospital costs associated with treatment, depending on your extras policy you may be able to claim for benefits like quit smoking aids, weight management and gym memberships.

Compare your health insurance options today

Picture: Shutterstock

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