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Australians on track to smash 450,000 Medicare-funded Heart Health Check target

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Australians on track to smash 450,000 Medicare-funded Heart Health Check target

Media release: 5 April, 2023

Key takeaways

2 min read

  • Popular and lifesaving Medicare-funded heart health check set to expire on 30 June unless Government intervenes
  • Australians taking up the Check in record numbers – original target of 450,000 set to be surpassed well ahead of time
  • Heart Foundation urging Aussies to sign a petition and write to local MPs to save the Check

Australians are on track to sail past the original target of 450,000 Medicare Heart Health Checks before the item expires on 30 June, prompting further calls from the Heart Foundation for the Australian Government to extend funding for the popular item.

Medicare Benefits Scheme data for February shows that nearly 440,000 Australians have taken the Check since they launched in 2019, well on track to reach around 500,000 Checks in the coming months and surpass the original 450,000 target.

Remarkably, Australians will blitz past the target despite interruptions to routine check-ups caused by the pandemic.

The Heart Foundation’s Healthcare Programs Manager, Natalie Raffoul, said the Heart Health Checks must continue.

“They’re the only Medicare-subsidised checks specific to the early detection and prevention of heart disease in Australia,” Ms Raffoul said.

“The checks involve an holistic assessment of heart disease risk factors including blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes status, family history, diet and exercise.

“The Heart Health Check is available to anyone aged 45 years or over (30 and over if First Nations) and it’s currently the only Medicare preventative health check for Australians aged 50-74 years.

“This age group represents more than half of the individuals hospitalised for coronary heart disease each year. If the Check is removed, it would jeopardise prevention efforts in this high-risk group.”

Time to make them permanent

The former Government introduced Heart Health Checks as a temporary item on the Medicare Benefits Schedule in 2019. As it stands, the item is set to expire on 30 June 2023.

Now, with clear evidence that people in Australia want and indeed expect the Medicare-funded Heart Health Check, the Heart Foundation is calling on the Australian Government to extend funding beyond 30 June.

“The Check has passed the test – Australians have shown that they expect it to be there when they need it to help avoid a heart attack or stroke,” Ms Raffoul said.

“We are optimistic that the Government will keep it available for Australians – but we are calling on Australians to support us to make sure this happens.”

How people can help

The Heart Foundation has opened a petition which people can sign.

Visit the page to view and sign the petition

From the petition, Australians can contact their local MP to ask for support, or share with family and friends for them to sign.

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Last updated05 April 2023