"What insurance do you have?"

This is one of the first questions I ask when talking to individuals who inquire about my services as a registered dietitian.

I always ask potential clients this question because most insurance companies now cover nutrition counseling under their preventative services benefit. Obesity and associated health conditions are at an all-time high and these issues are directly associated with poor nutrition and lack of education regarding diet and lifestyle behaviors.

Who can benefit from nutrition counseling?

People seek guidance from a registered dietitian for many reasons. Most individuals are concerned with disease prevention, athletic performance enhancement, gastrointestinal disturbances, or feeding concerns with children, while others are trying to manage their medical conditions with food and meal planning. Because it can be difficult to figure out which foods make up a healthy diet, registered dietitians are experts at creating plans that meet your individual health needs and goals.

Are you eligible for nutrition counseling through your insurance plan?

To find out, you'll need to call your insurance provider to ask about eligibility and benefits for nutrition counseling with a registered dietitian. The questions you'll want to ask to ensure coverage include:

  • Am I covered for nutritional counseling with a registered dietitian?
  • Is nutritional counseling limited to a specific medical diagnosis (i.e. morbid obesity, diabetes, heart disease, kidney failure) in order for me to use the benefit under my plan?
  • Do I have unlimited visits or a specific number of visits available each year?
  • Is there a copay to see a registered dietitian?

How do you find a registered dietitian?

Great, you found out that your insurance covers nutritional counseling. Your next step will be to find a dietitian that accepts your insurance. You can find this information by visiting your insurance provider's website and searching their provider directory for a registered dietitian within your desired zip code or you can simply call your insurance provider and ask for the contact information of an in-network registered dietitian that practices near you. A quick Google search might also do the trick.

Which popular plans cover up to six visits at no cost per year?

Independence Blue Cross Keystone Health Plan East
Independence Blue Cross Personal Choice
Federal Blue Shield

Don't worry, if your insurance plan is not listed above as providing 100 percent coverage for six nutrition visits per calendar year, that does not mean nutrition counseling isn't covered through your plan. The insurances listed above are plans that do not need to be verified for coverage, as these providers want all carriers to utilize their nutrition counseling benefit regardless of their needs.

Some plans such as Cigna, Highmark, Blue Cross Blue Shield and Aetna may require a medical diagnosis, co-pay, or could be limited to three-10 nutritional visits per calendar year, so it is always best to check your benefits prior to setting up an appointment with an in-network registered dietitian.

If you would like to set up a nutrition counseling appointment with me through your insurance benefit, email me at Theresa@PhillyDietitian.com or visit my website PhillyDietitian.com. I currently accept Independence Blue Cross, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Federal Blue Shield, Cigna and Highmark insurances.

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