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Dietitians are the best choice for employee benefits plans

Every dietitian has a role to play to improve benefits coverage on insurance plans.

We often hear that Canadians are confused about food and nutrition. We know that dietitians are the best choice to help Canadians look beyond the fads and gimmicks. So how can we help? 
Every dietitian has a role to play to improve benefits coverage. By working together to increase the number of employee benefits plans that include dietitians services, we can increase access to dietitians and at the same time, help Canadians better understand the role and value of the profession. 

Why employee benefits coverage is important to dietitians

Most Canadians would benefit from nutrition guidance and dietitians are the best choice to provide it. When employers recognize this and provide access to dietitian services through benefit plans, more Canadians will experience the positive impact a dietitian can have on their health and will become more familiar with our diverse profession. 
Currently, many Canadians have employee health benefits plans and most major insurers (seven out of ten) include dietitian services in their standard plan. However, some plans do not cover dietitian services, even though Canadian health concerns are on the rise and employees want better guidance to make healthy food choices for themselves and their families.

Dietitians are in a unique position to provide the nutrition counsel and advice that Canadians are asking for. We are rigorously trained, both on the job and in universities, and are part of a regulated profession. We look beyond fads and gimmicks and provide ethical, evidence-based care. Dietitians are the best choice for employers looking to support employee wellness and prevent escalating costs related to employee health. 

Are you an employer? Here are some resources.
Are you an employee? Here are some resources.

No matter what your role or where you work, as a dietitian, you can help. When we all pull together as a profession, we’re stronger, louder, and we increase the likelihood of success. So, let’s spread the word about how we can help improve access to our services and about the importance of covering dietitian services in employee benefits plans. 

Here’s what ALL dietitians can do to be part of the solution:

  • Become an advocate: share, like, post and tweet about dietitians helping Canadians with nutrition and food choices – and the importance of having coverage for dietitian services in employee benefits plans. Visit the advocacy section fo the website for ideas and examples. 
  • Check your benefits plan. If dietitian services are not covered, speak to your employer. Encourage friends, family and colleagues to do the same.  
  • Your employer can visit the Employee Health Benefits page for more information or you can share this factsheet with decision makers. 
  • Explain to your dietitian colleagues why it is important for all dietitians to get involved – and not just those working in private practice. By supporting access to dietitians, everyone benefits – Canadians, employers and our profession.

Milestones in the Employee Benefits Plan advocacy journey

Ongoing: Seven out of ten major insurers provide dietitian services in their standard plan. Engagement is underway with the remaining three major insurers yet to provide dietitian services. With industry expert support, situations reported by dietitians are also being investigated and followed up. 

March 2023: The Nutrition Month theme, Unlock the Potential of Food: Find a Dietitian, includes information on how to advocate for dietitian coverage on employee insurance. This year’s theme was informed by DC’s 2020-24 strategic plan and current advocacy work for health insurance coverage, as well as the best performing activities of past campaigns.

November 2022:  The Government of Canada detailed upcoming changes to the Public Service Health Care employee benefit plans, including coverage to see a dietitian. Learn more here.

January 2021: The Employee Health Benefits Advocacy (EHBA) advisory committee launched a digital communication campaign in to bring awareness to the public that virtual services and dietitian coverage is available.

October 2020: A DC member and industry expert co-presented at the virtual IFEBP conference, a strategy to target the benefits industry through speaking opportunities. 

April 2020: A comprehensive report outlining strategies to build connections and influence Canadian insurance companies was completed. It is estimated that between 60% to 70% of Canadians with employer benefits have coverage for dietitian services.
February 2020: A comprehensive report outlining strategies to target the benefits industry through speaking opportunities was completed. The first speaking opportunity came at the IFEBP in-person conference with a DC member and industry expert co-presenting.

October  2019: DC and the EHBA advisory committee launched a digital communication campaign to bring awareness to all dietitians of this issue. The campaign included messages aimed at dietitians to learn more and take action. to ask for coverage of dietitians’ service on employee benefits plans. You can see the campaign materials here (and share with your networks). 

June 2019: Dietitians can now direct bill on behalf of clients who are covered by Great West Life, Industrial Alliance and other insurers, through the free TELUS Health eClaims service. The Consulting Dietitians Network and the EHBA advisory committee were instrumental in this significant achievement. Register here for the free eClaims service.

March 2019: A comprehensive report outlining future actions by DC staff and members was completed in March 2019.  Here is the summary of the report.

Fall 2018: DC staff, the Consulting Dietitians Network, and members across the country formed an Employee Health Benefits Advocacy (EHBA) advisory committee in 2018. This advisory committee provided input and advice to an industry expert hired to develop a plan to influence change in this area.

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