Did you know that many employers cover (or partially cover) services by a Registered Dietitian through their employee health benefits plan or employee assistance program? Additionally, if your employer does not cover dietitian services, you are encouraged to request your employer to add them. Many health insurance companies have this option, but sometimes employers opt out of adding these services to your plan1. There are also government-funded services that may be available to you such as those through Family Health Teams, Community Health Centres, Diabetes Education Programs, Hospitals, and Long-Term Care Residences2. It’s always a good idea to find out what is available to you and explore your options. You may be able to get assistance through a variety of avenues that you weren’t previously aware of.
We looked into some common places of employment in the London area that offer a health benefits plan that includes coverage for Registered Dietitians. There is also coverage available to students. Firstly, we have Western University. Health coverage plans are different for both undergraduate students and graduate students, as well as for staff and faculty members3. This also includes Western’s affiliates. The undergraduate health benefit plan is through USC and covers 100% of costs for Registered Dietitian services up to a combined maximum for various health practitioners of $500 per student year4. There is also a convenient button to link to resources to find a local dietitian on the USC benefits webpage. For graduate students, their health benefits are through Society of Graduate Students (SOGS) and cover 80% of costs but have a maximum of $500 per year solely for dietitian services5. For staff and faculty members, we found that it varies by department, but we can imagine there would be reasonable coverage in these plans as well. You can check your specific coverage based on your department by visiting https://www.uwo.ca/hr/benefits/your_benefits/index.html. International students and employees have separate coverage through UHIP, and supplementary coverage can also be purchased6. We encourage looking into precisely what is covered in your specific plan, and what is available through supplemental health insurance as well. Contacting the university can shed some light on the particular options that are available.
We also found some excellent health plans that although the exact details are confidential, might have coverage as they seem to be competitive and sufficient. These include benefit plans through the Ontario Hospital Association (OHA), which has health insurance through Desjardins, the London Health Sciences Centre, which has an extended health care plan that includes counselling services and health and wellness programs, and the Ontario Secondary School Teacher’s Federation. We also found that the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario offers coverage for dietitian services7, and an accurate description of benefits for the Ontario Teachers Insurance Plan can be accessed by signing in to the member log in available online8.
Lastly, the Consulting Dietitians Network completed a poll in 2015 that gave insight to companies that they believed to their knowledge included dietitian services in their plans, and the following, among a few others, were included in the list9.
- Banks – TD, CIBC, RBC
- Canada Post
- Global News
- Loblaw Companies Limited
There are surely other employers out there in addition to the ones mentioned here that also offer this type of coverage. Of course, it is always best to view your particular health coverage plan through your school or employer for the most up to date information, but we hope that upon reading this we can help make more people aware that there are coverage options to be explored, and that there are resources available to them.
1. Dietitians of Canada (2018). Retrieved from: https://www.dietitians.ca/Your-Health/Find-A-Dietitian/Search-for-a-Dietitian.aspx
2. College of Dietitians Ontario. Retrieved from:https://www.collegeofdietitians.org/public/nutrition-services.aspx
3. Health and Wellness at Western University. Retrieved from: https://www.uwo.ca/health/shs/services/insurance.html
4. USC Student Benefits. Retrieved from:https://studentbenefits.ca/my-coverage
5. Society of Graduate Students. Retrieved from: https://sogs.ca/healthplan/
6. University Heath Insurance Plan. Retrieved from: http://uhip.ca/Enrollment/PlanDetails
7. ETFO Employee Life and Health Trust. (2018) Retrieved from: http://etfo-elhtbenefits.ca/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/ETFO-2018-19-BAAG-ENG-FINAL-1.pdf
8. Ontario Teachers Insurance Plan Login. https://planmemberlogin.otip.com:4433/login/Account/Login
9. Dietitians of Canada (2017). Retrieved from: https://www.dietitians.ca/Downloads/Public/Case-for-Extended-health-care-coverage-f.aspx