The decision to seek professional support in relation to food, body image or overall wellness is not one that’s taken lightly. You want to hire the right person. Someone with the qualifications and experience required to provide you with the best possible care.
In addition to choosing a competent, compassionate, and capable professional, you also want to make sure their services are a fit for your schedule, lifestyle, and financial situation. Your wellness journey has to integrate seamlessly with the rest of your life or it’s unlikely you’ll be able to commit to it long-term.
This is particularly important in terms of your personal budget. The last thing you want is to sign up to work with a registered dietitian only to realize a couple of months into your wellness journey you won’t be able to continue paying their rates.
So what’s the solution?
One of the best things you can do is to seek out services that are covered by your insurance provider. This will completely alleviate the pressure of having to pay out-of-pocket and will allow you to focus your attention on improving your health and happiness.
But in order to select the best service for you, you’ll need to know which services are covered by insurance and what differences exist between nutritionists and registered dietitians.
So are nutritionists covered by insurance? What about dietitians? Let’s first explore what each of these terms means.
Nutritionist vs. Dietitian: What’s The Difference?
Chances are you’ve heard both of these titles and assumed they were the same thing. These two terms are often used interchangeably, but there is a difference between them and it’s important to understand what those differences mean for you and your wellness journey.
The primary difference is that a registered dietitian is board-certified and legally permitted to treat medical conditions and offer nutritional counseling. This isn’t necessarily the case for nutritionists.
Depending on the state from which they operate, nutritionists may not be held accountable by a regulatory body, and can declare themselves a nutritionist without any formal training or certification.
This isn’t the case for registered dietitians (RDs) who must hold a bachelor’s degree or equivalent and meet the accreditation standards of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
The accreditation process for registered dietitians is a lengthy one, requiring each applicant to complete a ACEND-accredited supervised practicum, pass the Commission on Dietetic Registration's dietetic registration exam, and to successfully obtain a state license.
In a nutshell, registered dietitians are the nutrition and food experts. You can read more in our blog post about the difference between dietitians and nutritionists.
Are Dietitians Covered by Insurance?
So, does insurance cover dietitians? The short answer is yes, the majority of insurance plans do cover services from registered dietitians (RDs), including major names like Blue Cross Blue Shield, Medica, United Healthcare, and Medicare.
Of course, you’ll still need to confirm with your insurance provider, as individual coverage plans can vary. You can review the information package that was provided to you when you signed up for your insurance plan, or you can contact your provider directly to inquire about dietitian insurance coverage.
If you have been diagnosed with a medical condition that requires nutritional counseling, it helps to know your International Classification of Diseases code (also known as your ICD code). Your physician can provide you with your code. Have it on hand when you inquire about coverage, as it will help your insurance company determine what types of coverage you qualify for.
Are Nutritionists Covered By Insurance?
So, are nutritionists covered by insurance? The short answer is: very rarely. There are some insurance providers who will cover services offered by nutritionists, but most won’t.
Does Medicaid cover nutritionists? If you are covered under Medicare, you will only receive compensation if you hire a licensed or certified registered dietitian/registered dietitian nutritionist in the state in which you live.
If you have any questions or concerns about your coverage, reach out to your insurance provider, as they are most likely to have accurate information regarding nutritionist insurance coverage.
How to Find Out Whether Your Insurance Covers Dietitians
If you’re trying to find a dietitian or nutritionist covered by insurance, you need to know what steps to take to determine if your provider will cover the services you need.
For an estimate of what it will cost to work with a registered dietitian with Nourish, use our online coverage calculator. If you’d like to take further steps to ensure your insurance covers nutrition services, you can also do the following:
1. Call Your Insurance Provider
This should always be your first step. A customer service representative will be able to provide you with all the details you need regarding your level of coverage and the process by which you need to file a claim. Call the 1-800 number on the back of your personal health insurance card and ask them what nutritional services are covered under your plan.
2. Ask If There Are Any Limitations On Your Coverage
If your insurance provider confirms you have coverage, be sure to confirm the details of your plan. You may only be eligible to receive compensation for a specific number of visits with a nutritionist, or you may have a maximum amount your provider is willing to cover.
3. Confirm Your Plan Covers Telehealth Sessions
Does insurance cover a nutritionist or dietitian’s telehealth services? Not all insurance providers cover telehealth sessions. If being able to meet with a nutritionist or dietitian virtually is important to you, this is another detail you’ll want to confirm before investing in these services. Again, this is information a customer service representative at your insurance company will be able to provide to you.
4. Ask About Your Reset or Rollover Date
Many plans renew at a certain point in the year, and some even carry over any unused dollar amounts to the following year. Ask your provider what their policy is so you can maximize your coverage and get the most out of your nutritional counseling experience.
5. Determine If You Need a Referral
There are some insurance providers who will require you to submit a physician’s referral in order to receive compensation for nutritional counseling services. Ask your provider if this is the case in your situation so you can prepare ahead of time and ensure access to a dietitian covered by insurance. Most physicians are willing to provide you with a referral for these services, even if you do not have an urgent underlying medical condition such as diabetes or high blood pressure.
How to Find a Dietitian Nutritionist Covered By Insurance
If you’ve asked “Is a dietitian or nutritionist covered by insurance?” and the answer was yes, the next step is to find one who specializes in your areas of concern and who will be a great fit for your health and wellness needs.
In the past, this involved contacting nutritionists and registered dietitians one-by-one to inquire about their areas of expertise and the services they provide, but there’s now a better way! You can use an online platform like Nourish which connects you to an entire network of nutritional experts, all without having to leave your home. Get in touch with us and we can match you with a registered dietitian who accepts your insurance.
We’re Here to Help You Become a Healther, Happier You
So does insurance cover nutritionist or dietitian services? With Nourish, the answer is always yes! We work with clients from across the country, connecting them with the best registered dietitians for their unique nutritional needs. One of our friendly and knowledgeable representatives would be happy to discuss your options with you.
And remember, we’re committed to creating a positive and non-judgmental environment for every individual we serve. There’s no such thing as invalid questions here! Whatever is on your mind, we’ll do our absolute best to provide you with the information you need to make an informed decision about your health and wellness.
If you’re ready to become the best version of yourself, we encourage you to reach out today. Together we’ll reach your goals and create long-lasting, sustainable change. Find a dietitian near you and start your journey today!