Pacemakers are helpful devices used to regulate your heartbeat. They have the ability to both improve your quality of life and lengthen your lifespan. But when do you really need a pacemaker? How extensive is the surgery? Is it a one-time procedure? How will you pay for it? The following facts can help answer your questions.
1. Pacemakers Treat Heart Arrhythmia
Arrhythmia is an irregular heartbeat. Your heart may beat too fast, too slow, or you may have long, irregular pauses between each beat. Arrhythmia is dangerous because when your brain, lungs and other organs aren’t receiving a constant, steady supply of blood, they may sustain damage and your body may slowly shut down.
A pacemaker is comprised of a battery, a computerized generator and electrodes. The electrodes are attached to your heart. When the device senses your heart rate is abnormal, electrical pulses correct the irregularity.
2. Pacemaker Insertion is a Surgical Procedure
A pacemaker insertion is a surgical procedure that lasts for a few hours, barring no complications. It must be completed in either a hospital or an outpatient facility, depending on your health and your doctor’s recommendation.
Though it is a surgery, risks are low and most patients are able to resume their normal routine within a week. However, your doctor will caution you against participating in any strenuous activities for at least one month.
3. Pacemakers Don’t Last Forever
To keep pacemakers operational, patients are advised to avoid close contact with electrical or magnetic devices. You should carry around an identification card from your doctor stating that you have a pacemaker and let all members of your medical team know about the insertion.
The average pacemaker battery lasts for about six to seven years. During that time, you will have to undergo routine exams to ensure it is fully functioning. Once your doctor concludes that the battery or the electrodes are wearing down, you will have to schedule another surgery.
4. You’re Mostly Covered Under Medicare
If your doctor decides a pacemaker is required, Medicare will pay for 80 percent of the cost if you meet all the necessary conditions. You will be responsible the remaining 20 percent of the bill and you may be required to pay a copayment, depending on if the surgery takes place in a hospital or outpatient facility.
Investigate Your Coverage
If you or someone you love has recently been diagnosed with arrhythmia, you are probably starting the process of planning a pacemaker insertion. While you should focus on you or your loved one’s health at this time, you would gain incredible peace of mind knowing that the costs won’t devastate your finances.
The portion of your expenses that are not covered by Medicare can grow, especially when you undergo any form of surgery, both inpatient and outpatient, but you have other options. You could enroll in a supplemental insurance plan to cover the gap and drastically reduce your out-of-pocket expenses.
If you’d like to learn more about health insurance plans that could help with the cost of pacemakers and more, get in touch with the team at My Senior Health Plan for information and advice.