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does Medicare cover nutrition counseling for obesity

Does Medicare Cover Nutrition Counseling For Obesity?

Obesity can often be treated with lifestyle changes such as proper diet and exercise. However, the process is not easy for everyone. And some may need more than just physical intervention to help treat obesity. Not everyone knows exactly what is healthy and not, and with nutrition counseling, they may get education and support. 

If this type of treatment is one you’re considering, you may be wondering “does Medicare cover nutrition counseling for obesity?” In this article, we answer that question in clear, plain English. You will also find the average costs of nutrition counseling for obesity, as well as other helpful info.

Does Medicare Cover Nutrition Counseling For Obesity?

The short answer is yes; Medicare will cover the cost of nutrition counseling for obesity. But not 100% of the time. As is often the case with Medicare, certain conditions have to be met for Medicare to pay for your nutrition counseling for obesity. Below we look at what these are so you know what to expect.

Original Medicare

Original Medicare (Medicare Part A and Part B) provides coverage for nutrition counseling for obesity. Coverage for nutrition counseling for obesity is provided by Medicare Part B.

However, for Medicare Part B to provide coverage for nutrition counseling for obesity, you must be first diagnosed as obese by your healthcare provider. You are considered obese if you have a Body Mass Index, or BMI, of 30 or higher. 

Once you meet the requirements, Medicare Part B will provide coverage for nutrition counseling and therapy to help you lose the necessary weight. Medicare Part B provides coverage for the following for nutrition counseling for obesity:

  • One face-to-face visit with your nutritionist every
    • Week for the first month
    • Other week for the second to the sixth month
    • Month during the seventh to the twelfth month if you lose at least 6.6 lbs within the first six months

After the first six months of your nutrition counseling, you will have another screening for obesity. If you lose at least 3 kilograms (6.6 pounds) within the first six months, Medicare Part B will provide coverage for the next face-to-face visits for the seventh to twelfth months.

However, your therapy may end if you did not lose at least 3 kilos during the first six months of your nutrition counseling for obesity. 

Medicare Part B covers 100 percent of the costs of nutrition counseling for obesity. 

Part C Coverage for Nutrition Counseling for Obesity

Medicare Advantage plans (Medicare Part C) also provide coverage for nutrition therapy for obesity. They cover all the same treatments and services Original Medicare covers but will cover other things as well. The specifics of what each Advantage plan covers and how much you’ll pay out-of-pocket for these things will depend on the plan you sign up for.

How Much Does Obesity Therapy Cost?

The national average cost of seeing a nutritionist ranges somewhere between $70 to $100. Many factors can affect this cost, such as the certification level of the nutritionist.

Note: Medicare coverage changes all the time. And your specific coverage may vary from plan to plan for Medicare Advantage and Medigap plans. Always be sure to double check with your health care provider and/or Medicare insurance provider about what your plan covers and what it does not.

Additional Info on Medicare Coverage

This article is part of our series on “What does Medicare cover?”

Also, you can check out other articles in this series including: Does Medicare cover Clarifix?

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