How much does a dietitian visit cost?
Have you ever wondered how much a nutritionist costs? Has pricing been a concern for getting started?
##Will my health insurance cover a registered dietitian visit?
I’ve had clients who can see a dietitian (RD) at no cost (not even a copay) with unlimited visits. I’ve also had clients who have little to no coverage.
##You can call your insurance company and ask what is covered!
Call your insurance company and ask to verify you benefits for Medical Nutrition Therapy (MNT) The codes 97802 (Initial Consultation) and 97803 (Follow Up visit) are the codes that your provider will bill for.
Ask about your copay! Most of my clients pay between $25-$50 for copay.
In some cases you may need a referral from your primary care physician to get coverage for your nutrition visit. This will likely need to be placed prior to your first visit so it is important to confirm this beforehand!
Each individual plan from the same insurance company can be different. Just because a friend has coverage for nutrition services through their insurance with Aetna, doesn’t mean your Aetna plan will cover the same services.
Your insurance company may ask you the reason why you are looking to see a dietitian. Some health insurance companies will cover only diabetes and others will allow visits for preventive nutrition counseling.
Even within insurance companies coverage can vary.
##Why is insurance coverage variable?
Some insurance companies recognize the power of prevention of disease through nutrition. As many of us have experienced, insurance companies are a business. They try to cover as few services as possible. Coverage usually comes from lobbying (See chiropractic coverage) or reduction of cost over time (or prevention of chronic diseases).
Most insurances specify your nutrition provider must be a dietitian. This is because dietitians are the medical professionals in the field of nutrition and have requirements that someone who calls themselves a “nutritionist” does not necessarily need. This can be confusing as some dietitians also refer to themselves as nutritionists. Registered Dietitians must have a degree in nutrition.
##How to find a nutritionist covered by insurance?
Insurance is a state by state credentialing. For example I am credentialed by Aetna, Harvard Pilgrim, and United Health Care, but only for patients in Massachusetts.
Try search: “Dietitian near me” “Dietitian near Hopkinton” “Dietitian near me Harvard Pilgrim”
Or go to your insurance company website and search for in-network dietitians.
##Private pay rates:
Dietitian rates vary drastically. When I started out I charged a private pay rate of $75/hour session which at that price would have put me out of business quickly. I also found clients were less engaged at a lower rate. Some dietitians will charge upwards of 2,000 for a 6 month program.
##Finding a good fit
One of the most underrated parts of finding an RD is finding a personality that fits with you. Behavior changes is a huge part of nutrition counseling & if personalities don’t match it might get rocky (for both of you). Check out any videos on social media or their website - do you think you would enjoy spending time chatting with them?
There are many different approaches to nutrition and having a professional with an approach that matches your goals is important!
I do a discovery call with potential client and ensure they understand I will not give them quick fix diets or restrictive plans. It is important to me that my clients understand my goal!
Many private practice dietitians with do a discovery call prior to your initial consultation. For my clients this looks like a 15 minute call to learn about them and hear about their goals.
You may be looking for a dietitian to help you with a meal plan or losing weight but the RD you are hoping to work with does not do these! That’s an important conversation to have before you hire a nutritionist.