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EKG – Heart Screening

What it is

An electrocardiogram, also called EKG or ECG, is a quick, painless test. It can help your doctor find problems with your heart.

The test shows how fast your heart is beating, if the rhythm is steady, and if your heart is working too hard. This test can help your doctor spot problems, such as an irregular heartbeat and heart disease. It can also help your doctor diagnose a heart attack.

Why the screening is important

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. Your doctor may recommend an EKG test if you are at risk for heart disease or if you have symptoms of heart trouble, such as chest pain or trouble breathing.

Who is covered

Medicare pays for this test if

  • Your doctor gives you a referral at your “Welcome to Medicare” exam.
  • Your doctor thinks you need it at any other time to diagnose a condition. In that case, Medicare Part B would pay for it.

What you pay

You pay nothing for cost of this service 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 the EKG Screening on Medicare.gov.

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