Alyssa Cohen, MS, RD
While nutrition counseling can be used to lower one’s risk of developing disease, it is oftentimes only sought out once a condition (i.e. Diabetes, Hypertension, obesity, etc.) is already present. This is likely due to the fact that many insurance policies will not cover nutrition without a qualifying pre-existing condition. Also, there is typically a limit on how many visits or minutes can be covered by insurance each calendar year. While some insurance companies offer a significant amount of coverage and allow frequent nutrition counseling, many insurance companies do not.
Research demonstrates that accountability and nutrition counseling are both important factors in weight loss and weight management. However, since insurance often only covers a handful of nutrition counseling sessions per year, many patients do not continue nutrition counseling once their benefits have been used. This makes it very difficult for patients to continue and sustain weight loss throughout the many months during which nutrition counseling does not occur – and oftentimes patients end up back where they began their weight loss journey. While insurance policies may not change in the near future, your health status can change. Below are some reasons why you shouldn’t let your insurance benefits dictate how many times you meet with a registered dietitian:
- We shell out money each month for prescription medications that oftentimes far exceeds the amount spent on one nutrition counseling session – and successful nutrition counseling can help you to possibly stop taking these medications! The same premise holds for additional specialist appointments and/or alternative therapies
- Meeting with a registered dietitian is an investment in your health and your future. We often spend money on many items that we don’t need – meeting with your registered dietitian puts your money toward your health, which you do need!
- Ceasing treatment prematurely can prevent you from reaching your goals. Also, sometimes it can even cause you to backtrack – so instead of moving forward and making progress, you can end up closer to where you started.
- New issues and concerns always arise and it is best to talk through these obstacles and get your questions answered by a registered dietitian, who uses evidence-based science to help you meet your weight and/or health goals.
You should certainly make use of the benefits extended to you through your insurance provider – and remember that these benefits typically begin again every January. Just don’t let your benefits dictate the care you give yourself. If you use all of your coverage and still feel that you would benefit from additional nutrition counseling, then give yourself some benefits. Take the time to take care of yourself and don’t be afraid to invest your money in you – your health (and your waistline) may thank you!