Skip to main content


Independence claims data finds link between heart health and COVID-19 related deaths

While it may take years to understand the long-term health effects of COVID-19, some of the immediate impacts of the pandemic are apparent. For instance, recent studies have shown a rise in cardiovascular deaths in the U.S. during the first two years of the pandemic.

In a claims analysis, Independence Blue Cross saw the 2020 death rate was up 21% compared to 2019, and the 2021 death rate was up 30% compared to 2019. The deaths were categorized into the following diseases: acute myocardial infarction, atrial fibrillation, heart failure, and ischemic heart disease. In 2022, as rates of COVID-19 declined, Independence also saw a decline in cardiovascular deaths.

“The claims data regarding cardiac related deaths and COVID-19 wasn’t necessarily surprising. We expected our data would follow national trends because of how vulnerable people with heart disease are and how serious a COVID-19 illness can be for them. COVID-19 has even been implicated in direct and indirect damage to the heart. This just emphasizes how critical it is for anyone with a chronic illness like heart disease or diabetes to be vaccinated,” said Dr. Victor Caraballo, vice president of Quality Management and chief safety officer at Independence.

Find the latest information about COVID-19, including videos from Independence’s Beat COVID-19 campaign, here.

Caraballo also suggests that adults take steps to monitor and maintain heart health, but it’s important to know the facts. Check out the IBX Insights blog “Seven Heart Disease Myths It’s Time to Let Go Of” to debunk heart disease myths and better protect yourself.