Medicare covers Medical Nutritional Therapy or MNT. If you have diabetes or kidney disease, or if you had a kidney transplant within the last three years, Part B may pay for nutritional therapy. The therapy services must help you manage your condition more effectively by choosing the right foods. If you’re on dialysis, coverage includes medical nutrition therapy services.
Medical Nutritional Therapy Guidelines for Medicare Coverage
Medicare began covering Medical Nutritional Therapy in 2002 after studies showed that MNT might improve health outcomes. However, relatively few people take advantage of the benefit.
As of 2017, there were about 15 million beneficiaries with diabetes or chronic kidney disease, but only about 100,000 of them received nutritional counseling services. Medicare will only cover Medical Nutritional Therapy if your doctor prescribes it; pay for three hours of Medical Nutritional Therapy in the first year you need services, and two hours in every year after that.
Medical Nutrition Therapy is a preventative health service, and therefore Medicare covers 100%. You won’t be responsible for any copay or deductible as long as you use a doctor that accepts Medicare assignment.
Does Medicare Cover Nutrition Counseling?
A doctor, a registered dietitian, or another nutrition expert that accepts Medicare may provide Medical Nutritional Therapy. Nutrition therapy can include a variety of services.It usually begins with an assessment of your eating habits, lifestyle, weight, and blood sugar levels. After that, the dietitian may develop an eating plan for you.
Many patients suffer from a wide range of medical conditions each year. If you have diabetes, Medicare may pay for one-on-one counseling as part of medical, nutritional therapy. You get assistance with managing lifestyle issues that affect your diabetes. You may have follow-up visits to monitor your progress.
Does Medicare Cover a Dietician?
Does Medicare Cover Medical Nutritional Therapy for Obesity
Medicare covers obesity counseling for people who have a body mass index of 30 or more, regardless of whether they have diabetes or another weight-related health condition. For coverage, the counseling must take place in a primary care setting, such as a doctor’s office. You may receive advice from your doctor, a nurse practitioner, a clinical nurse specialist, or a physician assistant.
Medicare pays 100% of the cost of one session of “intensive behavioral therapy for obesity” per week for the first month, and a meeting every other week for the five months after that.
For people who lose at least 6.6 pounds in that first six months, Medicare will pay for one counseling session per month for another six months. If you haven’t lost at least 6.6 pounds by the end of the sixth month, you can still get extra weight loss counseling. However, you will have to wait six months before coverage.