Show your loved ones you care during American Heart Month

February 09, 2021

During American Heart Month, have a heart-to-heart with those you love about healthy habits and how your medical benefits can help. ​

Talking with your loved ones about heart disease can be awkward, but it's important. In fact, it could save a life, and American Heart Month is the perfect time to start the conversation. Whether it's at the dinner table, in the car, or even by email, make it a point to have a heart-to-heart discussion with your loved ones about improving heart health as a family.

  • Encourage healthy eating habits. Even small changes can make a big difference. Suggest making healthier versions of favorite family recipes. When grocery shopping, choose items that are low in sodium, added sugar, and trans fats, and be sure to stock up on fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Promote physical activity. Encourage your family members to aim for at least 150 minutes of physical activity per week. Offer to join them for a walk or challenge the whole family to a friendly fitness competition.
  • Check in on healthcare. Remind family members to get their blood pressure and cholesterol levels checked regularly by a healthcare provider. If they're already on medication to control their risk factors, help them set up a reminder system using a pill box or mobile app.

Medical benefits for better heart health

The good news is there are things you can do to lower your risk as well as manage your condition if you are diagnosed with heart disease, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol. And, if you have medical coverage through the Board of Pensions, you'll find a wealth of benefits to help.

What you can doHow your medical benefits can help*
See your doctor regularly.
  • Annual preventive exams and cholesterol screenings are 100% covered when you use network providers.
  • Additional preventive services to prevent obesity and heart disease and reduce the risk of stroke and heart attack, based on your age and risk factor as outlined in the plan's preventive schedule, also are 100% covered.
Develop or maintain healthy habits.
  • Call to Health offers challenges plus Ignite Your Life coaching programs, such as Get Moving, Mission Nutrition, and Lighten Up, to help you adopt healthy habits and stick with them.
  • Consultations with a network registered dietician are 100% covered if your body mass index (BMI) is 30 or more. Regular plan provisions (copays, deductibles, and/or coinsurance) apply if your BMI is less than 30.
Learn how to manage stress.
Live nicotine-free.
  • The Breathe Easy Ignite Your Life coaching program, available through Call to Health, is designed by tobacco treatment specialists to help you quit the habit for good.
  • Certain prescription smoking cessation medications are 100 percent covered when prescribed by your doctor.
Take medicines as prescribed by your doctor.
  • The plan's preventive drug list includes medications to treat high blood pressure, high cholesterol, angina, and other heart problems. You pay reduced costs for these designated drugs, making it easier on your wallet to get the medication you need.
Look for a Center of Excellence.
  • If you need heart surgery, using a Center of Excellence for cardiac care could improve your outcome and reduce your costs.
  • Patients who must travel more than 100 miles to a Center of Excellence are eligible for a travel benefit of up to $10,000 to cover expenses for themselves and a companion.
Work with a case manager.
  • A case manager can help you get the best available treatment if you have frequent or prolonged hospital stays, need ongoing outpatient care in outpatient settings, or require ongoing healthcare services in your home.
  • This confidential program is available at no cost to you.

*The benefits described here are available to employees and their family members enrolled in the PPO, EPO, and HDHP. Those enrolled in Triple-S, GeoBlue, or the Medicare Supplement Plan should consult their plan's provisions for detail about their benefits.