Nutrition counseling can be a critical component of good health care, especially for people recently diagnosed with diabetes or high cholesterol who need to adhere to a specific diet. People also meet with nutritionists for help developing a healthy vegetarian or vegan diet, developing an eating plan to lose weight or gain muscle, or improving their sports performance by changing their diet. Nutritionists may be covered by health insurance depending on your reason for meeting with them. Nutrition counseling is more likely to be covered if it is part of a doctor-prescribed treatment for a particular medical condition, such as diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure or coronary heart disease. For example, Medicare covers medical nutrition therapy services only for people diagnosed with diabetes or kidney disease, as long as they get a referral from their doctor. Also, insurance providers more often cover nutrition visits if the patient has been referred to a registered dietitian within the carrier’s network of providers. Insurance plans vary greatly, so research your benefits before visiting a nutritionist.
A nutritionist provides expertise and guidance to help clients with all diet-related health matters, including losing weight, gaining muscle, improving their sports performance, and managing diabetes or high cholesterol. Nutritionists can help people learn to follow special diets in a healthy way, such as becoming vegetarian or vegan or developing a low-sodium or gluten-free eating plan. The average national cost of a nutritionist is $60 to $100. Nutritionists often require an initial consultation with a new client, during which they’ll take a medical history, assess the client’s nutritional needs, and determine the best course of action; this first meeting usually averages $100-$120 for a 45-minute to 90-minute consultation. Subsequent nutritional counseling sessions generally cost less, ranging from an average of $45 for a half-hour session to $60-$90 for a one-hour session. Like many professional service providers, nutritionists may offer discounts through package pricing. For instance, a one-month package with two sessions and email support costs an average of $190; a three-month package with three sessions and email support costs an average of $360; and a six-month package with six sessions and email support costs an average of $540.