Sorting out your finances after a heart attack
heartfoundation.org.au|Helpline 13 11 12

Sorting out your finances after a heart attack

Explore how to manage your financial concerns after a heart attack.

Key takeaways

  • About half of all heart attack patients worry about money during their recovery. 
  • Insurance policies may be affected by your condition. 
  • Financial assistance is available. 
3 min read
It’s common for people to worry about money after a heart attack. The costs can really add up, especially if you can’t work for a while. It’s also hard on pensioners and people without private health insurance. 

If you’re having money worries, you’re not alone. Many other people are too. Your doctor or social worker will be able to tell you where you can get help or advice. 

Health insurance and ambulance cover  

Your health insurance will be affected by your heart attack. You may find that your premiums go up, or there may be some new terms. You may even have to have a medical check-up. This is because your heart attack means you now have a ‘pre-existing condition’. You’ll need to contact your health insurance provider to find out if there are any changes. 

If you don’t have health insurance you can still get some, but there might be a waiting period. Talk to your doctor first. 

It’s also a good idea to think about ambulance cover if your health insurance doesn’t include this. If you live in Queensland or Tasmania, there’s no need – everyone is automatically covered.

Income protection and life insurance 

Life insurance and income protection insurance are still usually available to you too, but they might cost a bit more, or have a few more terms.  

This will depend on things like: 
 
  • Your family history 
  • How severe your heart condition is 
  • How well it’s controlled. 
It might mean that you’re not covered for any future problems with your heart. It’s best to call them to check. 

Benefits and financial support  

If your heart condition means you can’t work or look after yourself, you may be able to get some financial support.  

Here are some of the different supports available: 
 
  • Sick leave through your employer.  
  • Insurance and superannuation policies, which may cover some bills or replace some income. 
  • Transport cover or subsidies through your hospital.  
  • Mobility Allowance - check if you’re eligible
  • Concessions, healthcare cards and benefits (like Sickness Allowance or the Disability Support Pension) can be arranged through Centrelink. Access to benefits depends on your finances, age, health and how long you’ve lived in Australia.  
  • Emergency relief charities can help out with food, transport and vouchers. They can also help you with bills, or budgeting. Emergency relief is free, but you might have to qualify. There are many different providers who may be suitable for your needs.  


Here are some other things you can do to save money: 

 
  • Make sure your pharmacy has your Medicare number on file, so you’ll only be charged the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) price. There’s a PBS Safety Net too, so once you’ve spent a certain amount on prescription medication (per calendar year), the rest is free or cheaper.  
  • Have your medication reviewed to make sure you’re not buying things you no longer need. Your doctor or pharmacist can do this, or you can apply for a Home Medicines Review
  • You can also save money at the pharmacy by buying cheaper generic brands and receiving subsidies. Just ask. 
  • If you have debts, call the company you owe and explain the situation. Many companies have hardship officers who can help work out repayment plans.   

If you need more financial advice, the MoneySmart website is a great resource.  

You might also be interested in

A nurse shares her top recovery tips for young cardiac patients

A nurse shares her top recovery tips for young cardiac patients

A nurse shares her top recovery tips for young cardiac patients

Pauline is a nurse and shares advice for young people who have had a heart event or are recovering from surgery....

Action Plans

Action Plans

Action Plans

Recovery is a long journey, so having a plan makes a huge difference. Using an action plan gives you a step-by-step guide to improving your lifestyle....

Alcohol action plan

Alcohol action plan

Being a carer for a heart attack patient

Being a carer for a heart attack patient

Being a carer for a heart attack patient

Your role as a carer for a heart attack patient is an important one – explore some useful things to know....

Cardiac arrest at 26: adjusting to a new ‘normal’

Cardiac arrest at 26: adjusting to a new ‘normal’

Cardiac arrest at 26: adjusting to a new ‘normal’

Blood pressure action plan

Blood pressure action plan

Key steps that can help you manage your blood pressure....

What is cardiac rehab?

What is cardiac rehab?

What is cardiac rehab?

Cardiac rehab is proven to keep you out of hospital and reduce your risk of death from heart conditions....

From diagnosis at 37 to heart surgery, rehab and now

From diagnosis at 37 to heart surgery, rehab and now

From diagnosis at 37 to heart surgery, rehab and now

Claude Lam, Open heart surgery survivor...

Find a cardiac rehabilitation service near you

Find a cardiac rehabilitation service near you

This cardiac services directory presents information on cardiac rehab programs offered across Australia....

Driving and travelling after a heart attack

Driving and travelling after a heart attack

Driving and travelling after a heart attack

Explore our guide for driving and heart attack recovery. ...

Trek for Australian Hearts

Trek for Australian Hearts

Trek for Australian Hearts

Join the Heart Foundation in South Australia for the journey of a lifetime, trekking the ancient Flinders Ranges to help save Australian hearts....

Are you at risk of heart disease?

Are you at risk of heart disease?

Are you at risk of heart disease?

There is no single cause for any one heart condition, but there are risk factors that increase your chance of developing one. ...

Personal Walking Plan

Personal Walking Plan

Personal Walking Plan

Feel healthier and happier in six weeks with a free Personal Walking Plan...

Heart Health Check Toolkit

Heart Health Check Toolkit

Support for young adults: Online events

Support for young adults: Online events

Support for young adults: Online events

A series of virtual events for young adults on managing emotional wellbeing. ...

Support us and help save Australian hearts

Support us and help save Australian hearts

Support us and help save Australian hearts

Join the fight against Australia’s biggest killer by supporting the Heart Foundation.  ...

Fundraise to save Australian hearts

Fundraise to save Australian hearts

Fundraise to save Australian hearts

Join our community of fundraisers who are committed to taking action to fight heart disease....

Heart Foundation Recovery Support and Resources

Heart Foundation Recovery Support and Resources

Heart Foundation Recovery Support and Resources

Heart Foundation programs and resources to support your recovery....

Aboriginal heart health

Aboriginal heart health

Aboriginal heart health

Visit the St Vincents Hospital NSW and Heart Foundation Aboriginal heart health website for more information...

How can I set and achieve goals to improve my heart health?

How can I set and achieve goals to improve my heart health?

How can I set and achieve goals to improve my heart health?

Question of the month blog...

Create your fundraiser at Do it for Heart

Create your fundraiser at Do it for Heart

Create your fundraiser at Do it for Heart

Become a Heart Foundation fundraiser, do it for heart and make a real difference to your community....

When The Heart Gets Heavy: Emotional Wellbeing and Heart Conditions

When The Heart Gets Heavy: Emotional Wellbeing and Heart Conditions

Emotional wellbeing is like having a garden, sometimes it grows green on its own, other times it needs watering, cutting back or fertilising....

What is heart disease?

What is heart disease?

What is heart disease?

Heart disease is the broad term for conditions that affect the structure and function of the heart muscle. ...

Heart stories

Heart stories

Heart stories

Stories of hope from Australian men and women fighting heart disease....

Acute coronary syndromes (ACS) clinical resources

Acute coronary syndromes (ACS) clinical resources

Resources and clinical information for health professionals...

Nutrition Resources for Practice and Patient Care

Nutrition Resources for Practice and Patient Care

Seafood recipes

Seafood recipes

Seafood recipes

Find heart healthy seafood recipes...

Hypertension clinical information and guidelines

Hypertension clinical information and guidelines

Clinical information for diagnosis and management of hypertension....

WEBINAR | The future of CVD risk assessment

WEBINAR | The future of CVD risk assessment

WEBINAR | The future of CVD risk assessment

Should population-based CVD risk assessment models make way for individualised risk prediction techniques?...

Wholegrains and heart health

Wholegrains and heart health

Wholegrains and heart health

All you need to know about wholegrains to put you on the right track...

10 ways to get the right balance of fats 

10 ways to get the right balance of fats 

10 ways to get the right balance of fats 

Getting the right balance of fats in your diet can improve your heart health....

Australian Heart Maps

Australian Heart Maps

Australian Heart Maps

Our Heart Maps allow you to take a closer look at heart disease indicators across Australia....

Fats, oils and heart health

Fats, oils and heart health

Fats, oils and heart health

Get the right balance of healthy fats in your diet ...

How can I eat more fruit and vegetables for a healthy heart?

How can I eat more fruit and vegetables for a healthy heart?

How can I eat more fruit and vegetables for a healthy heart?

Support after a heart attack

Support after a heart attack

Support after a heart attack

Many different thoughts may go through your head after a heart attack and you may be presented with complicated medical info. Know where to get support. ...

Advocating for healthy hearts throughout Australia

Advocating for healthy hearts throughout Australia

We're addressing the disparities in heart health so all Australians can live longer, healthier lives....

What is heart valve disease?

What is heart valve disease?

What is heart valve disease?

Heart valve disease means that your heart valve or valves don't open or close properly....

Heart Foundation recipes

Heart Foundation recipes

Heart Foundation recipes

Check out our recipe categories to find your next heart healthy meal....

What is an arrhythmia?

What is an arrhythmia?

What is an arrhythmia?

Arrhythmia is a fault in the heart’s electrical system, which affects your heart’s pumping rhythm....

Heart Foundation Walking

Heart Foundation Walking

Heart Foundation Walking

Learn more about Heart Foundation Walking and find your local walking group....