Does Medicare Cover a Nutritionist?

Are you wondering does Medicare cover a nutritionist? If you have Original Medicare Parts A (hospital insurance) and Part B (medical insurance) you may have coverage for dietary counseling if you meet the requirements for eligibility. Part B covers medical nutrition therapy (MNT) services and other related services if you have diabetes, kidney disease, or if you’ve had a kidney transplant within the past 36 months. 

Medicare Benefits Solutions

Jun 2, 2021

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The additional services that your Medicare benefits might cover include the following:

• Your initial assessment for nutrition and lifestyle.
• Nutritional therapy services in an individual or group setting.
• Help with managing lifestyle factors that might be affecting your diabetes.
• Follow-up visits to keep track of your progress with your diet management. 

Because Medicare categorizes these services as preventive, Original Medicare Part B pays 100 percent of the expenses. You don’t have to pay any coinsurance, and you aren’t responsible for your Part B deductible for nutritional counseling services. However, you are limited to a certain number of visits to a nutritionist per year.

Also, in order to get this Medicare benefit, you must visit a Registered Dietitian or a nutrition professional who is certified to provide MNT services. The dietitian or nutritionist must also accept Medicare assignment. Your health care provider can give you a reference for an appropriate professional providing this type of care.

If you are getting dialysis at a facility, Original Medicare covers your MNT as part of your overall care associated with dialysis. In instances where you can’t visit a nutritionist in person, you can use Medicare’s telehealth system for your care.

Coverage for a nutritionist with a Medicare Advantage plan

If you have health care coverage through a Medicare Advantage (MA) plan, your plan provider is obligated to provide at least the same services that you’d get through Original Medicare Parts A and B. Your plan may offer extra benefits and you might have access to more visits to a nutritionist.

Depending on the type of MA plan you have, your provider might require that you visit a health care provider in the plan’s network. If you go outside the network, you may end up paying 100 percent of your expenses.

The importance of good nutrition

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle that includes physical activity, positive mental stimulus, and proper nutrition is vital to living a life without serious complications from illness and disease. This is important for people at every age, but it becomes even more so as we get older. 

As we age, our nutritional needs change, and it’s important that we get as much information about a healthy diet as possible. Knowing what to eat can help us maintain good physical and mental health. 

Reports show a great number of seniors in the United States are malnourished. This can be due to a slower metabolism, reduced appetite, and the body’s incapability to use the nutrients coming from food effectively. Many seniors don’t have access to fresh, healthy produce or can’t prepare meals themselves. 

Eating a healthy, balanced diet including vital nutrients can affect your organs and cognitive functions, and your ability to manage chronic illnesses like high blood pressure, dementia, diabetes, and cancer. Good nutrition also strengthens the immune system and keeps muscles and bones strong and healthy.  

If you are living with a health condition like kidney disease or diabetes, you must pay close attention to your nutritional needs. That’s why it is necessary to meet with a nutritionist and get information about a proper, healthy diet. In cases like these, your Medicare benefits might help you cover the expense of visiting a nutritionist. 

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