Insurance Benefits for Nutrition

Does insurance cover nutritionist services?

November 14, 2023

Written by Maeve Ginsberg

Medically reviewed by Rita Faycurry, RD

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Medical Nutrition Therapy BenefitMedical Nutrition Therapy Benefit

Key Points

  • Health insurance is required to cover nutritionist services in the United States.
  • Coverage for nutrition counseling will vary by insurance provider and by plan.  
  • Using insurance to pay for dietitian services through a service like Fay Nutrition will help you save both time and money.

If you’re looking for a trusted, qualified nutritionist, the process can seem complicated and difficult. You want to be sure your provider is qualified, as well as personable and compassionate. You want to work with the most credentialed provider, so you are looking for a registered dietitian. On top of all that, you want to make sure you can afford these important services.

The good news is, your health insurance likely offers coverage for nutrition counseling. But there are a few things to look into before you book your first appointment. Here’s how to find out if your health insurance covers nutritionist services and what you can expect to pay.

What are the benefits of a nutritionist?

Registered dietitians (RDs) and registered dietitian nutritionists (RDNs) are the most qualified nutrition counseling providers available. Through their licensure, which has extensive educational requirements, they can provide medical nutrition therapy (MNT) and diagnose and treat health conditions and diseases. Both RD and RDN are protected titles; nutritionist is not. RDs and RDNs are the only board-certified professionals legally permitted to provide nutrition counseling services. If you’re seeing a nutritionist that is not an RD or RDN, then you should run far, far away.

Registered dietitians act as both wellness and healthcare providers. They use their clinical and medical expertise to guide you through nutrition education and support you in the inherently personal nature of the work you do together. Nutrition counseling has an emotional side to it, and your dietitian is there to support you every step of the way to get you to your goal.

RDs can treat things like eating disorders, prediabetes or diabetes, kidney disease, obesity, and more. They also offer preventative services for anyone who is trying to take their health into their own hands and work on their overall wellbeing. With all this in mind, you can see why dietitians are the most qualified and trustworthy type of nutritionist you can hire.

Are dietitians covered by insurance?

In the United States, the Affordable Care Act mandates that health insurance covers nutrition counseling. Health insurance companies like Aetna, United Healthcare, BlueCross BlueShield, and Anthem all cover dietitian services. Coverage can vary by provider and by plan. Most insurance plans will cover 100% of all nutrition services. We’ll go through the ins and outs of health insurance coverage for nutrition services so you can know more about what to expect.

Why are dietitians the only nutritionists covered by insurance

The only qualified nutritionist is one who holds an RD or RDN title. When insurance decides to pay for a certain type of care, they do extensive research into the efficacy of that care model. The education and board certification standards that go into obtaining an RD credential ensure that these nutrition experts are providing real medical advice that is clinically proven to work. The advice of a dietitian goes far beyond being “rooted in science.” Insurance companies and regulatory bodies can ensure that when one is working with a dietitian, the nutrition advice being given is proven to work through evidence-based practices that have been proven through peer-reviewed research. This is the highest quality of care possible and is proven to work. Even “certified health coaches” and nutrition therapy practitioners (NTPs) don’t have anywhere near the amount of knowledge as RDs, which is why insurance companies will only pay for services rendered by an RD.

Is health insurance required to see a nutritionist?

The Affordable Care Act requires MNT to be covered, but insurance isn’t required to receive nutrition counseling. Technically, anyone can work with an RD. If you do have health insurance, though, your out-of-pocket costs are likely to be $0 or close to $0. That’s what makes a tool like Fay Nutrition so valuable: Fay pairs you with an in-network registered dietitian and bills your insurance on your behalf so you don’t have to worry. Using a tool like Fay can help you save hundreds or even thousands of dollars in the long run while still getting the care you need.

How to find out if your insurance plan covers nutritionists

You should contact your health insurance provider directly to find out what nutrition services are covered by your plan. Use the phone number on the back of your insurance card to get in touch with customer service and ask about your coverage. Some helpful questions to ask are:

  • What coverage do I have for nutrition counseling?
  • How much can I expect to pay out of pocket per RD visit, if anything at all?
  • Are telehealth services covered for nutrition counseling?
  • I have a diagnosis that requires nutrition counseling, what’s covered?

Medicaid, American public health insurance, does cover nutrition counseling, but coverage varies by state, so it’s still wise to check with your provider what exactly is covered.

How do I find a nutritionist?

Finding an in-network provider with the right credentials might seem like a daunting task, but with a tool like Fay Nutrition, it’s simple. Fay Nutrition has a database of vetted registered dietitians which enables you to find an in-network RD by state or service type. If you’re looking for a nutritionist specifically to help you lose weight, support eating disorder recovery, educate you on diabetes management, or offer something else related to your health goals, you can filter your search to find the right provider for your needs. Use Fay to save money while working with a trusted nutritionist provider and get the care you need.

The views expressed by authors and contributors of such content are not endorsed or approved by Fay and are intended for informational purposes only. The content is reviewed by Fay only to confirm educational value and audience interest. You are encouraged to discuss any questions that you may have about your health with a healthcare provider.

Does your insurance cover nutrition counseling?
When you see a dietitian through Fay, your insurance is likely to cover the cost. Enter your insurance details to get pricing.
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Maeve Ginsberg

Written by Maeve Ginsberg

Maeve Ginsberg is a health and wellness writer with a personal passion for fitness. As an ACE Certified Personal Trainer and former powerlifter, she loves combining her interests in health with her writing. Maeve has a Bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University. 

Rita Faycurry, RD

Medically Reviewed by Rita Faycurry, RD

Rita Faycurry, RD is a board-certified Registered Dietitian Nutritionist specializing in clinical nutrition for chronic conditions. Her approach to health is centered around the idea that the mind and body are intimately connected, and that true healing requires an evidence-based and integrative approach that addresses the root cause of disease. In her books and articles, Rita offers practical tips and insights on how to care for your body, mind, and spirit to achieve optimal health and wellness.