CHANGES in HEALTH INSURANCE Coverage for my Nutrition Services (and WHY!)
I’ve been SO incredibly grateful that ALL health insurances are now covering telehealth nutrition services with dietitians since the start of the pandemic. That really needed to happen! (Some of them were doing it before but most were not.)
However, I’ve come to realize in the last year there are both pros AND cons to being an “in-network provider” with 7 different health insurance companies…
PROS of Health Insurance Coverage for my Nutrition Services:
I was able to reconnect with lots of wonderful past clients in New England (you know who you are!), meet lots of new amazing people virtually around the U.S., and provide exponentially more help to those who want to get healthier while staying safe in the comfort of their home. (Woohoo!!)
It’s also been a huge blessing for my nutrition services to often be free or very low cost, which allows more people to have access to this type of healthcare.
CONS of Health Insurance Coverage for my Nutrition Services:
ALL of the health insurance companies in the U.S. at this time are part of what I refer to as the “Medical Matrix”: our very corrupt and dysfunctional healthcare system, which is desperately in need of reform.
The amount of lost time, increased stress and financial burdens caused by health insurance companies have really taken a toll on me as well as many of my clients over many years, but especially in 2020.
- In many cases, my clients and I were told by insurance reps that my services were covered, and then they weren’t. (That’s called “bait and switch” which is UNETHICAL AND ILLEGAL.)
- In many cases, my services were denied health insurance coverage MANY months after-the-fact with no explanation other than “tech glitches” which required multiple hours on the phone for me to dispute and fix. These unjustified “tech glitches” and my countless experiences of being “ghosted” by insurance reps who never followed up with me after our calls, were all driven by apathy, greed, and abuse of power. ( Unacceptable! We teach people how to treat us and I can’t settle for that kind of abuse if I want and expect to be respected in this industry.)
- In many cases, my clients were denied a referral (permission required from their doctor to work with me through health insurance if they have an HMO plan) due to “medical politics” and financial conflicts of interest on end of the doctors’ offices. (That’s also illegal because we are supposed to all have the right as patients to choose our own providers.)
- In many cases, clients with health conditions DEFINITELY considered medically necessary did not meet the insurance company’s elusive criteria and exclusions for what constitutes “medical necessity”… and the patient was denied coverage.
First of all, all of those situations are TOTALLY out of alignment with my mission and the high quality of work that I aspire to deliver to my clients.
I do my best to be as transparent as possible and practice with as much integrity as possible… but staying in integrity while also trying to work with these health insurance companies has caused me to start to “pour from an empty cup” (mentally, emotionally, energetically, financially, and from a time management standpoint)… which is NOT sustainable!
- Not only is “pouring from an empty cup” hypocritical (since I advise everyone else NEVER to do that), but it’s also a disservice to everyone involved. It’s not okay to light ourselves on fire to keep others warm, because eventually we would burn out and have nothing left to give. What kind of example would I be to others if I can’t practice what I preach? What kind of value would I bring to others if my energy, well-being and business were not in a healthy, sustainable place?
Second, the degree of stress, overwhelm, and frustration caused by various health insurance companies really started to bleed into the quality of 1:1 work I’ve been providing for my clients in 2020.
I’ve come to realize I’ve been showing up as a watered-down version of myself for many months now, feeling burnt out and even resentful which is not okay!
So, it’s time for a change.
Given everything mentioned above, starting in March 2021 I’m going to be terminating with a few of the 7 health insurance companies I am currently contracted with.
I plan to definitely continue to stay in network with Blue Cross and 3 other of the 6 remaining insurances. I’ll go public with details after discussing first-hand with those clients who will be impacted by the changes, and after finalizing the termination process with the insurance companies.
To everyone in my client community, I hope you can understand where I’m coming from. Please know I’m still here for you – I’m not going anywhere! You won’t be left “high and dry”.
Wait! One last thing…
As a friendly reminder, just because I might not accept your health insurance doesn’t mean we can’t still work together!
- We can agree it’s not always ideal to have to pay for nutrition services if it can be covered, but if you’re getting tremendous value and positive outcomes then in my opinion it’s well worth the investment. I’ve also noticed over the years that people who invest in themselves financially can sometimes be more motivated to take action.
I’ll be honest… trust me when I say the health outcomes that my clients get from working with me go far above and beyond a “run of the mill” dietitian who is covered by your health insurance.
I can’t tell you how many times some of my clients were told they couldn’t change a medical condition, and then they totally HEALED it through the interventions they implemented while working with me.
- I’m talking about people who straight-up REVERSED autoimmune disorders, thyroid conditions, digestive health issues, diabetes, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), eating disorders, depression, panic disorder and more… after being told by mainstream providers there was nothing they could do except manage symptoms with medication.
This is a bold statement but it needs to be said: Often we think we can’t afford something, when we really just don’t value it enough to invest in ourselves.
- I observed this first-hand after having conversations with various people over the years. Of course this doesn’t apply to everyone who told me they couldn’t afford to work with me unless my services were covered by their insurance, only to later find they had simultaneously invested hundreds or even thousands of dollars into other things like shoes, pocketbooks, a concert, gifts for others, Russian brides, etc. etc. I’m not making any of that up. (No judgement. To each their own.)
- When we value something (whether it’s related to health or family or education or entertainment or something else), it’s possible to make it work. When there’s a will there is always a way! (For the record, I strive to keep my rates as fair and reasonable as possible too!) So I’m still here for anyone who values their health & the holistic services I offer.
To make up for these changes in 2021, there’s also LOTS more to in the works in terms of more content and offerings I’m creating to keep my services as accessible as possible for people who can benefit.
(**HSA/FSA cards are still accepted for all services!**)
So now, You may be wondering, what can you expect from me moving forward?
As of right now I’ve got online courses, coaching programs, and more healing services related to gut health, mental health, and immunity all in the works…
Stay tuned for more details soon!