Medicare Coverage of Weight Loss Counseling

What It Is

Counseling to help a patient lose weight

What's Covered

In general, Medicare Part B doesn't cover weight loss counseling or programs. Medicare Part B covers a minimal amount (usually only a few hours) of weight loss counseling from a Medicare-certified nutritionist or other Medicare-certified counselor if losing weight is medically necessary to help treat a disease or condition (such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart or cardiovascular disease, or COPD and other respiratory diseases) or to prepare a patient for surgery, and if the weight loss services are prescribed by the patient's treating physician.

If you have a Medicare Part C Medicare Advantage plan: Medicare Part C Medicare Advantage plans, also called Medicare Advantage plans, must cover everything that's included in original Medicare Part A and Part B coverage. But sometimes a Part C plan covers more, with extra services or an expanded amount of coverage. (Co-payments for Part C plans may also be different than those for Part A or Part B.) To find out whether your plan provides extra coverage or requires different co-payments for weight loss counseling, contact the plan directly.

What Medicare Pays

Medicare Part B pays 80 percent of the Medicare-approved amount for covered services.

Important: Regardless of the rules regarding any particular type of care, in order for Medicare Part A, Medicare Part B, or a Medicare Part C plan to provide coverage, the care must meet two basic requirements:

  • The care must be "medically necessary." This means that it must be ordered or prescribed by a licensed physician or other authorized medical provider, and that Medicare (or a Medicare Part C plan) agrees that the care is necessary and proper. For help getting your care covered, see FAQ: How Can I Increase the Odds That Medicare Will Cover My Medical Service?

  • The care must be performed or delivered by a healthcare provider who participates in Medicare.

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