Is a Dietitian Part of the Plan?

Eating well is certainly its own reward, but is learning how to eat well a covered benefit? Under some health plans, the answer is “yes” because they cover visits with a registered dietitian, nutritional counseling, or similar services. To find out if you’re covered, consider these steps:

  1. Check your policy. This might seem obvious, but many people never look at their plan documents.
  2. Ask. Your benefits provider has a toll-free number you can call or an email address you can use to ask questions. If you aren’t finding the answers you need, ask your HR team to help.
  3. Be specific. Ask whether your plan specifically covers visits with a registered dietitian or nutrition counselor, and under what conditions. Some plans cover services like preventive care, while others cover services for certain diagnoses.
  4. Check on referrals. You might need to be referred by your primary care provider for dietitian services to be covered.
  5. Know who you’re seeing. Coverage typically depends on who delivers services. Are you visiting a nutrition counselor? A registered dietitian? Someone else? The answer to that could dictate whether or not you’re covered.
  6. Know the limits. Plans that cover dietitian services often limit the number of covered visits.
  7. Know your diagnosis. In many cases, coverage depends on your diagnosis. For example, plans might provide coverage for children with autism, obese adults, people with diabetes or hypertension, and other conditions.
  8. Talk to your doctor. Even with plans that do cover dietitian and/or nutritionist services, the way your provider codes your bill can make a difference in your coverage. Make sure your provider codes your bill correctly, reflecting any diagnoses that would be affected by such services.

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