Dietitian coverage on employee benefits plans

 

One of the most significant things we can do collectively as a profession to increase the public’s access to dietitians is to work together on ensuring employers cover dietitian services through employee benefits plans. 
 
Though many working Canadians have employee health benefits, some plans do not cover the cost of dietitian services even though: 

  • Canadian health concerns are on the rise
  • Employees want better nutrition and 
  • Employers are struggling to manage healthcare costs such as absenteeism and high prescription drug costs.
 
All of which dietitians can help employees manage through increased access to nutrition services.

Are you an employer considering adding dietitian services to your employee benefits plan? Here are some resources to support your decision making.

What can we do as a profession? 

We know that working together as a profession will increase the likelihood of success.  Here’s what has been happening so far: 

Fall 2018: DC staff, the Consulting Dietitians Network, and in collaboration with many Local Action Groups across the country formed an Employee Health Benefits Advocacy (EHBA) advisory committee in 2018. This advisory committee provided input and advice to an external consultant hired to develop a sustainable plan to influence change in this area.

March 2019: A comprehensive report outlining future actions by DC staff and members was completed in March 2019.  This report will be shared with members of the EHBA advisory committee, the Consulting Dietitians Networking and the Local Action groups across the country working on this issue. This report is intended to guide DC member groups as they form actions plans and look for opportunities to lead advocacy on this topic.

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.
 
Learn more about past work in this 2017 webinar: Going After the Giants

How can ALL dietitians be a part of the solution?

  • Check your benefits plan. If dietitian services are not covered, speak to your employer. Encourage friends and family to do the same.  
  • Your employers can visit can visit the Employee Health Benefits page for more information or you can share this factsheet with decision makers. 
  • Join or form a DC Local Action Group in your region and develop an advocacy action plan related to this issue.  
  • Explain to your dietitian colleagues why it is important for all dietitians to get involved and not just dietitians working in Private Practice. When we support access to dietitians, this benefits dietitians working in all areas of healthcare.