What it is
Cardiovascular diseases affect your heart or your blood vessels. High blood pressure (also known as hypertension), stroke, and heart failure are types of cardiovascular diseases. So is coronary heart disease, which includes heart attack and chest pain (angina pectoris).
These diseases usually happen when fat and cholesterol clog up the blood vessels (arteries) that send blood to your heart or brain.
Why screening is important
High levels of cholesterol can increase your risk for heart disease and stroke. Blood tests check your cholesterol and other blood fat (lipid) levels and will tell if you have high cholesterol.
Also, your doctor can ask you a series of simple questions to see if you are at risk for developing heart disease. If so, your doctor can help you learn ways to make lifestyle changes, like changing your diet or using aspirin, to help lower your cholesterol and stay healthy.
Who is covered
Anyone with Medicare is covered for this blood test and/or screening.
How often it is covered
Screening: Your doctor will screen you to see if you are at risk for heart disease. This screening is covered once a year. Ask your doctor about this screening.
Blood test: The test is generally covered once every 5 years. Ask your doctor how to get this test.
What you pay
You pay nothing for cost of the blood test or the screening if you have Original Medicare and you see a doctor who “accepts assignment.” Doctors who accept assignment agree to accept the amount that Medicare will pay for a visit or service (called the Medicare-approved amount) as payment in full.
If you are in a Medicare Advantage plan, the plan cannot charge you for this service as long as you see an “in-network” provider, meaning a doctor who has an agreement to treat people who belong to the plan. If you use a provider outside your plan's network, it may cost you money.
Learn more about Cardiovascular Screening on Medicare.gov.