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Life and Health

How to Get Your Health Insurance to Pay For Nutrition Counseling

By March 2, 2015No Comments
According the Long Beach, California Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center study, over half the people with high cholesterol who visited a dietitian only three or four times were able to stop taking cholesterol medication. Diabetes, kidney problems, heart disease and other medical conditions can also be prevented or reduced with proper nutrition. Although insurance companies pay for treatment and surgeries associated with chronic diseases, many don’t cover nutrition therapy that could reduce those diseases. Does yours?
Obtain a Referral From Your Physician
If your doctor believes nutrition therapy is essential to your health, ask him or her to write a referral. This professional recommendation increases the chances of having nutrition therapy covered by your insurance.
Emphasize the Medical Need
Your insurance company might pay for nutrition therapy if it improves health conditions like obesity, diabetes or high blood pressure. Plus, use terms like “medical nutrition therapy/management/treatment” rather than “nutrition counseling” as you emphasize the medical need.
See a Registered Dietician
A variety of medical professionals can offer nutrition advice, but your insurance company is more likely to pay for you to see a trained and certified registered dietician. Your doctor, local hospital or the American Dietetic Association can suggest registered dieticians in your area.
Document Financial Savings
Although registered dieticians charge between $50 and $125 per session, the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine (IOM) found that Medicare patients who received nutrition therapy for high blood pressure reduced healthcare costs by anywhere from $52 to $167 million over five years. Prescription drug expenses can also decrease by $60,000 per year thanks to nutrition therapy. Ask your dietician to document the savings you achieve when you stop taking medication or no longer need surgery, and share that savings with your insurance company as you make your case for nutrition therapy reimbursement.
Ask the Dietician to Talk to Your Health Plan Director
You may be unable to persuade someone in customer service to cover nutrition therapy. However, ask your dietitian to discuss your specific case with your health plan’s medical director who has more pull in paying claims.
Keep Asking
Be sure to submit each nutrition therapy bill and progress report. Your persistence might change the insurance company’s mind about covering this important medical need.
Nutrition therapy helps you stay healthy. These tips can ensure your health insurance covers your efforts to become physically healthy this year.