What we eat matters. A lot. A good diet goes a long way to helping us stay healthy.
Proper nutrition can help lower the risks of many diseases. And, for those undergoing medical treatment, can make a big difference in reducing symptoms and/or recovery times.
Since some people needed a nutritionist to guide them to healthy eating habits, a common question many people have is, “does Medicare cover nutritionists?” In this article, we answer that question in clear, plain English. You will also find the average costs of nutritionists, as well as other helpful info.
Does Medicare Cover Nutritionists?
The short answer is yes. Medicare will cover the cost of a nutritionist. 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 nutritionist. Below we look at what these are so you know what to expect.
Original Medicare (Medicare Part A and Part B) provides coverage for a nutritionist. Coverage for a nutritionist falls under Part B.
However, Medicare Part B will only pay for Medical Nutritional Therapy if you are suffering from diabetes, kidney disease, and/or are undergoing dialysis. They will also cover it if you had a kidney transplant within the last three years and if your healthcare provider orders it.
Once approved, they will pay for three hours of each therapy in the first year and two hours in the following years.
Medical Nutritional Therapy is a preventive service which is why Medicare covers it. If your doctor prescribes the therapy, you will not pay for any copayment or deductibles.
Medicare will also cover obesity counseling for those with a BMI of 30 or above. This is regardless of whether they have diabetes or other weight-related health condition.
However, the therapy must take place in a primary care setting. Once approved, Medicare will pay for 100% of the therapy costs per week for the first month. Then it will cover a meeting every other week for the five months after that.
Once the person loses around 3 kg in the first six months, Medicare will cover one session per month for another six months. If you have not lost at least 6.6 pounds within the first six months, you can continue to have your therapy. Still, you will have to wait for another six months for Medicare to provide coverage.
Medicare Advantage plans (Medicare Part C) also provides coverage for nutritionists as they cover everything Original Medicare covers. However, out-of-pocket costs will vary depending on the specifics of your plan. You will not have any deductible, copay, or coinsurance for Medical Nutritional Therapy if you use an in-network doctor.
What Are The Rates Of A Nutritionist?
The average costs of a Nutritionist are around $70 to $150. There are several factors that affect the cost of having a nutritionist.
One of which is the packages that they offer. Other factors may include their level of education, pricing structure, reputation, and geographic location.
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 a portable oxygen concentrator?