The following is an excerpt from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Nutrition Practice Guideline for Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes in Adults. I invite you to read it, but substitute the words “celiac disease” for “diabetes.”
Medical nutrition therapy (MNT) is essential for the optimal management of type 1 and type 2 diabetes in adults. Recommendations and practice guidelines for diabetes medical care from professional organizations acknowledge the importance of nutrition therapy as the foundation for effective comprehensive initial and ongoing diabetes care management. The American Diabetes Association states that “each person with diabetes be actively engaged in the collaborative development of an individualized eating plan. It is important that each member of the health care team be knowledgeable about nutrition therapy principles for people with all types of diabetes and be supportive of their implementation.”
The excerpt remains true, right? Why, then, do Medicare, Medicaid, and most private insurance cover visits to a dietitian for diabetes, but not for celiac disease? There is no good answer. In fact, dietitian coverage for celiac disease is specifically EXCLUDED from federal health insurance coverage by legislation. Again, why? There is no good answer!
For years, the Celiac Disease Foundation has been fighting for insurance coverage for MNT for patients with celiac disease. The good news is that on May 10 and 11, 2021, the Medical Nutrition Therapy Act of 2021 was introduced in the 117th Congress, which would support Medicare coverage of MNT for celiac disease patients. We thank Representative Robin Kelly (D-IL), Representative Fred Upton (R-MI), Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), and Senator Gary Peters (D-MI) for championing this important legislation.
Even if you are not covered by federal health insurance, many private health insurance plans model their coverage after the massive federal plans.
We need your help to get this legislation passed in this Congress. Please join us in supporting these bipartisan bills, H.R.3108 and S.1536, by using our online Take Action Center to send an email, with a few simple clicks, urging your Members of Congress to sign on as cosponsors and by rallying your networks to support this critical legislation.
As always, our work on behalf of the celiac disease community is made possible by your generosity.
To Our Health,
Marilyn G. Geller