Qualified Nutritionist’s Expertise with out a Hospital Stay 

While the issues with the Affordable Care Act are too numerous to count, it does have a couple ideas that are heading in the right direction.  The Act is attempting to reduce medical expenses by making us healthier with preventative care.  This goes over and above covering a trip to the doctor in the hopes it might prevent a trip to the Emergency Room.  The opportunity to see a Dietitian (RD) or Certified Nutrition Specialist (CNS) is looking like a greater possibility for more of the population.  Insurance coverage for a visit for diet counseling was once reserved only for those with diabetes or kidney disease.  If you happened to be in the waiting line for gastric bypass surgery, you got to see one too.  For the rest of us, unless our insurance was ahead of the curve and had started to see the benefit of preventative care, you weren’t going to see a Dietitian or qualified nutritionist unless you had made an unfortunate reservation for a few days stay at your local hospital.

 Insurance covered Advise

This appears to be changing, according to healthcare.gov.  All marketplace plans now have to provide free coverage (no co-pay and no deductible) for diet counseling, for those with chronic diseases and now obesity iStock_000021963698Smallscreening & counseling. It certainly is no longer limiting those services just to those with diabetes, renal disease, or high cholesterol.  While the website does not indicate exactly who may provide these services under Obamacare Plans, the new Medicare/Medicaid bill proposes that a qualified nutritionist or Registered Dietitian will be among the prescribing team.

Prevention is Cure

The allure of being able to counsel patients before they are diagnosed with a chronic disease is incredibly exciting for dietitians, nutritionists and should be for the population.  Prevention of disease through healthy eating is the very backbone of the nutrition field.  It is far easier to prevent an illness, than to repair the body after the illness has already set up shop.  The possibility of helping patients/clients to make changes that prevent the development of high cholesterol, insulin resistance, and cancer up until now seemed more like a fairy tale.  The services had always been available, but were difficult to afford, and thus most individuals did not elect to pay out of pocket for the expertise.

 So we now have the ability to seek help for weight conditions and preventative diets that will increase longevity and improve our quality of life.  But will people use this service?  It is unfortunate, but many will not.  It seems that even those who are diagnosed with a nutrition-related disease do not wish to make an appointment for help, so imagine how many people who aren’t sick will be clamoring to sign up.

 It’s scary and intimidating, and you feel ashamed of how you’ve been eating.  Who wants to expose that to a stranger?  A nutritionist isn’t in the business of judging and they don’t take pleasure in raking you over the coals for food indulgences that you already know were not the best choices.  The nutritionist is there to teach you how foods behave in your body.  They want to help you reach your goal (i.e. longevity, weight loss, weight gain, weight maintenance, cancer prevention, lower cholesterol, etc.) with food by making small adjustments to the way you already eat.  Most importantly, they want to make you the healthiest that you can be, so they don’t have to see you occupying one of their hospital beds.

Have you been wanting to seek a qualified nutritionist or registered dietitian’s help with your diet but thought you couldn’t afford it?  Maybe you can now.