Skip Navigation

Toll Free & Confidential Helpline: (888) 818-2611

February 7, 2023 General Interest

February is Black History Month and American Heart Month

February is the shortest month of the year, but there are many things to celebrate and acknowledge during these 28 days.  Some of the things celebrated include Groundhog Day, Super Bowl Sunday, Valentine’s Day, and Presidents’ Day. Along with these the entire month of February is also a time to bring awareness to other causes, American Heart Month, and Black History Month.

Black History Month is a month that we celebrate achievements by African Americans. Since 1976, every U.S. president has officially declared the month of February as Black History Month.  As we move through the month of February let us take time to remember the meaning of Black History Month and recognize how African Americans played a central role in U.S. history.  Please take time to follow the link provided to learn more about the Prominent figures featured throughout U.S. History.

Along with Black History Month it is also American Heart Month.  As we recognize the African American population on all the achievements that were contributed to U.S. history; we also need to recognize that heart disease also largely affects this population.

Heart disease refers to conditions that affect the heart’s functioning and blood flow to it. Heart disease can include multiple conditions from heart attacks, strokes to high blood pressure, as well as cardiovascular disease.  Heart disease affects minority populations more than any other population.  African Americans are one of the minorities that top this list.  Family health history and lifestyle are the main cause of heart disease.  Education can help prevent and treat heart disease.  Working with your physician, having regular screenings, and managing health behaviors can help lower risk factors.  Health behaviors include diet quality, physical activity, smoking, body mass index (BMI), blood pressure, total cholesterol, or blood glucose.

Does Medicare pay for cardiovascular screenings?

Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) covers cardiovascular screening blood tests once every 5 years, more if medically necessary.

Your costs in Original Medicare:

You pay nothing for the tests if your doctor or other qualified health care provider accepts assignment.  (Accepting assignment is an agreement by your doctor, provider, or supplier to be paid directly by Medicare, to accept the payment amount Medicare approves for the service, and not to bill you for any more than the Medicare deductible and coinsurance.) Contact Medicare at 800-MEDICARE  of visit Medicare online at link provided, Cardiovascular Disease Screenings Coverage (  These screenings include blood tests for cholesterol, lipid, and triglyceride levels that help detect conditions that may lead to a heart attack or stroke. Speak to your physician regarding needed cardiovascular screenings or any other health questions you have.

We can save lives by learning the warning signs of a heart attack or stroke and consulting a doctor if you have risk factors or symptoms. To learn more about heart health, please talk to your health care provider and visit link provided for more information. Heart Disease Facts   Please share this information with family and friends.  You could be saving a life.

Help for all Americans

To help all Americans the federal government passed the Inflation Reduction Act in 2022.  This will help people afford treatments. It will cap out-of-pocket prescription drug costs for seniors on Medicare at $2,000 a year, no matter the medication — including those that work to prevent blood clots, lower blood pressure or cholesterol, manage diabetes, and otherwise promote heart health.  Information on the Inflation Reduction Act

Current lawmakers are working to help more people lead heart-healthy lifestyles as well.  The White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health are working to release a national strategy to reduce diet-related diseases.  This includes boosting Medicaid and Medicare coverage for services like nutrition and obesity counseling. It will increase incentives for fruits and vegetables in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formally known as Foodshare (food stamps)) and help increase access to parks and exercise, especially in underserved communities.  There will be a push to help reduce smoking, a major cause of heart disease. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has also proposed a rule to ban menthol-flavored cigarettes and flavored cigars.

Cardiovascular Genetic Testing Fraud

As Medicare beneficiaries you are becoming very aware that there are scams that target Medicare card holders.  One of the genetic testing fraud schemes focuses on cardiovascular genetic testing. Scammers are offering Medicare beneficiaries cheek swabs for genetic testing to obtain their Medicare information. This information is used for fraudulent billing purposes or possibly medical identity theft. What is Cardiovascular Genetic Testing Fraud? Cardiovascular genetic testing fraud occurs when Medicare is billed for a cardio type of test or screening that was not medically necessary and/or was not ordered by a beneficiary’s treating physician.  For more information follow the link provided to read more information provided by Senior Medicare Patrol on Cardiovascular Genetic Testing.

If you believe that you may have been a victim of Medicare Fraud, please contact the Wisconsin Senior Medicare Patrol at 888-818-2611.  All Wisconsin SMP helpline specialists are in Wisconsin.  We are your trusted Medicare fraud information resource located right here in Wisconsin.