Nutritionists, Dietitians And Health Insurance
Health Insurance and Nutritionists/Dietitians
While many health insurance plans do not cover the services of a nutritionist, some have begun to add this benefit.
To provide the greatest probability that a visit to a nutritionist will be covered by your insurance:
- Ask your doctor for a referral to a nutritionist, even if you have to locate a nutritionist on your own.
- Ask your doctor to indicate that your visit to a nutritionist is a "medical necessity," both in your chart and on any claim forms submitted.
- Use the term "medical nutrition therapy" on any claim forms or correspondence with your insurance company when referring to a nutritionist.
- Ask your nutritionist to keep track of your health progress. For example, the nutritionist should document improvement in your weight (whether the objective is loss or gain), improvement in lab results, or reduction in blood pressure.
- File claims even if your health plan doesn't cover a visit to a nutritionist. If your doctor indicates medical necessity, you may be able to get reimbursed.
- Don't hesitate to appeal any denial by the insurance company. See: Appealing the Denial Of A Claim for more information.
What If My Health Plan Won't Process A Claim For A Visit To A Nutritionist Or Dietitian?
If your health plan simply won't process a claim for visits to a nutritionist or dietitian, consider paying for visits out-of-pocket. You generally will not need to see a nutritionist or dietitian for more than 2 or 3 visits to get things going.
If you pay out-of-pocket, be sure to get receipts. If you itemize your taxes, the fees could be tax deductible.
Keep copies of all records indicating the medical necessity of nutrition counseling in the event of an audit. To learn more, see: Taxes.
If money is tight, consider contacting a local disease specific nonprofit organization to see if it offers the services of a nutritionist or dietitian. A social worker may also know a source of inexpensive, or free, nutrition advice.
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