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Medical Nutrition Therapy

What it is

Medical nutrition therapy gives you advice on what to eat, so you can better manage your medical condition.

How does this help me?

A registered dietitian or nutrition professional can give you:

  • An initial opinion on what you eat and your lifestyle
  • Advice on what foods to eat and how to follow a personal meal plan
  • How to manage certain lifestyle factors that affect your diet, such as exercise and stress
  • Follow-up visits to help you manage your diet

How to qualify

To qualify for services, you must either:

  • have diabetes
  • have kidney disease but not be on dialysis, or
  • have had a kidney transplant.

Your doctor must prescribe these services to you. You must provide a doctor's prescription each year for Medicare to pay for the service.

How often it is covered

Medicare covers 3 hours of therapy in the first year you receive the services. You get 2 hours of follow-up services each year after that. If your doctor decides there is a change in your medical condition, you may be able to get more hours.

You can meet face-to-face with a professional provider, such as a registered dietician or a nutrition professional, or using a telecommunication system. Talk with your provider for more information.

What you pay

You pay nothing for cost of this service if you have Original Medicare and you see a doctor who “accepts assignment.” Doctors who accept assignment agree to accept the amount that Medicare will pay for a visit or service (called the Medicare-approved amount) as payment in full.

If you are in a Medicare Advantage plan, the plan cannot charge you for this service as long as you see an “in-network” provider, meaning a doctor who has an agreement to treat people who belong to the plan. If you use a provider outside your plan's network, it may cost you money.

Learn more about Medical Nutrition Therapy Services on Medicare.gov.

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