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Medical Nutrition Therapy

What is MNT and how is it different from a consultation with a dietitian?

Medical Nutrition Therapy (MNT) is the term that insurance companies use when referring to a consultation with a registered dietitian and is defined as “nutrition-based treatment provided by a registered dietitian nutritionist,” and includes “a nutrition diagnosis as well as therapeutic and counseling services.” 

Will my insurance cover MNT?

Most insurance plans cover consultation with a dietitian, but it is best to check with your insurance before your visit.

If you have Medicare: 

At present, Medicare covers MNT only for individuals with a diagnosis of diabetes or chronic kidney disease. A referral by a physician is required. If you have secondary insurance, it may cover MNT; however, Medicare will be billed first. Medicare also requires the completion of an advanced beneficiary notice. Please complete and return this form to us prior to your appointment. The form can be faxed to 202-725-7400 or uploaded via your patient portal. Medicare requires that we provide patients with a written notification whenever it is likely that you will be responsible for the bill. 

If you do NOT have Medicare:

MNT may be covered. Although your insurance may not require you to have a referral for MNT, it is the policy of the Barnard Medical Center for patients who want to work with a dietitian to have a referral.  

Who verifies whether my insurance will cover dietitian consultation?

We recommend that you call your insurance provider in advance of your appointment to verify that it is a covered service. Please note that our staff are not able to call and verify coverage.

What information should appear on my referral for MNT?

Your referring provider should include that the referral is for medical nutrition therapy, the diagnosis for which you are being referred to a dietitian, and the number of visits for your referral (if no number is listed, some insurance companies assume the referral is only good for 1 visit). 

Where should my referral be sent? 

Your referring provider can fax a referral for MNT to 202-527-7400.

When you call your insurance provider, we recommend that you ask them the following questions:

  • Does my insurance plan cover MNT? The billing codes for MNT are 97802 (initial session) and 97803 (follow-up session). 
  • How many MNT sessions will my insurance plan cover? 
  • Is a specific diagnosis needed for MNT to be covered? Your referral will list the diagnosis code for which you have been referred to a dietitian.
  • What, if anything, am I responsible for paying?