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How can I make a visit to a dietitian affordable?

Dee Sandquist
Nutrition & Dietetics
A dietitian can save you money. They can find a plan that works for you which may help you spend less for medications, supplements. In addition, they can provide shopping and preparation tips that will save you money.
Judy Caplan
Nutrition & Dietetics

A visit to a registered dietitian is affordable because in the long run it will save you money. Learning how to eat healthfully, lose weight, and navigate a "fast food world" will contribute to a lower risk of developing chronic disease and its accompanying need for expensive medications. While visits to registered dietitians range in price, the money spent today is worth the benefits down the road.

The best way to afford your visit to the dietitian is obvious: get your health insurer to pay. More and more plans are covering services by a dietitian. Medicare now covers medical nutrition therapy provided by a Medicare certified dietitian.

Here are some tips that can increase your chances of getting your claim paid:

• Call your insurer first. You may have an insurer who provides this benefit. If so, ask what paperwork you will need to submit. 
• Submit a claim after each visit to the dietitian. Include a written referral from your doctor; it should not prescribe “nutrition counseling” or “nutrition education” but language such as “medical nutritional therapy for diabetes management.” 
• If you are turned down, resubmit your claim. This time, document how your visit to the RD can save the insurer money. For example, you can cite the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial, which proved that complications can be prevented or delayed with near-normal glucose levels. 
• If you are turned down, ask for your claim to be reviewed. Many insurers will tell you “no” at first, only to eventually cover some or all of the claim. In writing, ask for your disputed claim to be reviewed. Follow up with phone calls. Write down the names and titles of the people you call and the dates when you spoke. It pays to be persistent, so continue to write letters and make phone calls until either you or your insurer decides to pay for treatment.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.