Good question. Not so easy to answer. More and more doctors are turning to devices and surgery to repair broken hearts. Let’s assume you have health plans of some kind. A senior health plan with Medicare backing it up has several variations. If you have a supplement plan most of them cover what Medicare does not pay. Some have a deductible to meet, so be sure to read your plan. If you have a Medicare Advantage plan that would depend on your specific carrier. Most are somewhere in the range of $300 copayment for the first five days in the hospital. Do you have Medicare alone without a supplement plan or an advantage plan? You will pay the 20% co-insurance. An individual health plan also has very many possibilities. First, you must pay the deductible. Let’s say you have a high deductible health plan and the deductible is $5000. Then the plan is 70/30 with a stop loss of $5000. You will pay the first $5000 of the bill. Then your carrier will step up and pay 70% and you will pay your 30% up to $5000. Once you have reached a total out of pocket of $10,000 your carrier will pay the balance.

Why not just take a pill instead of surgery? Sophisticated devices are the future in the treatment of heart disease as drug makers produce fewer new medicines in the battle against the world’s leading cause of death. Dr. Scott Wright, a cardiologist with Mayo Clinic, attended a scientific meeting held last week in New Orleans for the American College of Cardiology (ACC) said “Devices are becoming more important. They are more widely used and that will continue, especially in later stages of the disease.” One of the hot new procedures is a method to replace aortic heart valves that spares the patients the need to open the chest up for the surgery. The aortic valve can be affected by a range of diseases that require its replacement. According to Fox News

“The technique, pioneered by Edwards Lifesciences Corp, uses a catheter to implant the new valve, requiring only a small incision. Doctors say this and similar devices are being developed by Medtronic Inc and will eventually become the standard of care.” The article went on to say that “Pharmaceutical companies have increasingly turned their attention to high-priced drugs for cancer, autoimmune disease and other specialty areas, since there is already a flood of blood pressure and cholesterol treatments on the market.”