Your Benefits Can Support Better Eating

You hear a lot about better nutrition leading to better health. Since health benefits are designed to help you stay healthy, does that mean your employee benefits will include tools for better nutrition? The answer usually seems to be, “Yes” … with exceptions.

Some health plans will cover nutrition and diet care, counseling and services, but you might have to meet certain requirements to receive the coverage. However, in most cases, those requirements are reasonable and designed to help you get the help you need. To find out if you’re covered, consider taking these steps:

  • Check your policy and talk to HR. Those might seem like obvious steps, but many people never look at their plan documents or ask simple questions of HR.
  • Review your wellness plan. Many wellness plans include diet and nutrition goals, and they’ll cover classes, programs, etc., to improve nutrition, along with other tools for improved overall health.
  • Be specific. Ask specifically whether your plan covers visits with a registered dietician or nutrition counselor, and under what conditions. Some plans cover such services as preventive care, others for certain diagnosis, and still others under wellness plans. How the services are delivered might dictate what services you can and can’t access under your plan.
  • Talk to your healthcare provider. Many plans provide nutrition counseling and care so long as it is prescribed by a physician. Let your provider know your goals for improving your nutrition, and get his or her input on the best course of action.
  • Know your diagnosis. In many cases, coverage depends on a diagnosis. If you or a family member has a diagnosis of autism, obesity, diabetes or hypertension, for example, you might be eligible for coverage. In some cases, however, you can receive covered services simply for the sake of improved overall health.
  • Know who you’re seeing. Coverage might depend on what kind of service provider you are seeing. Are you visiting a nutrition counselor? A registered dietician? Something else? The answer to that could dictate your coverage.
  • Find out about discounts, etc. Some benefits plans give you access to discounted services, coupons for certain products, etc. Consider all options and possibilities that could help you improve your family’s daily nutrition.

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