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Will insurance pay for food sensitivities testing?

Reader question: Any advice as to how  I ask my physician (MD) to do the MRT – for food allergies (so my insurance may pay for it?). Thanks.  ~ Lisa, Paradise, CA

Hi Lisa,

Here’s the situation:

Most physicians do not study nutrition in medical school or afterward. Additionally, they have limited time to meet with each patient. Hence, they do not have the time or knowledge to work with the tested patient to correctly design and manage a healthy, anti-inflammatory diet that is satisfying and sustainable enough to promise long-term results. Signet Diagnostic, the laboratory behind the MRT and the LEAP dietary management program, recognized that and instead of spending a lot of money hiring a sales force to visit physicians and educate them about the value of this test, they decided to work with Registered Dietitians, Nutritionists, and nutrition professionals to create Certified LEAP Therapists (CLT) who already understand the fundamentals and role of nutrition in overall health.

Some physicians are more holistic and understand the value of this testing and the efficacy of a customized dietary plan, but still don’t have the time needed to work together with a patient to customize a dietary plan. These physicians may authorize the blood draw (not all states require this) and the test, and then you can submit the bill to your insurance carrier and pay for the nutrition counseling separately.

Insurance carriers themselves are reluctant to pay for this test as it is not considered a standard medical procedure. As of now, there are only a couple carriers that will cover it at all. There is a form you can use for getting pre-authorization as the onus will be on you to work directly with your carrier before drawing your blood for the test. I’ve seen some carriers accept the MRT as an out-of-network laboratory test and then cover a small fraction of the $995 list price of the test only, leaving the patient with more out-of-pocket expenses than if they had simply signed up for the $795 package that includes the MRT and 3-5 nutritional counseling sessions as well as unlimited email support from a qualified nutrition expert. The first counseling session alone with a CLT like myself lasts 90 minutes — all devoted to helping you find the safest foods for your body. As a CLT, I get a discounted rate on the MRT, which allows me to pass the savings on to my clients.

If you have a flexible spending account, your CLT can submit a SuperBill that will allow you to deduct the funds from your account after you have fronted the payment.

In short, I only recommend pursuing payment by insurance if you feel it will be worth it as you will meet your deductible this calendar year, and then realize that you will still end up paying a significant portion out-of-pocket. The insurance companies will do everything in their power not to pay for this life-changing test because the the non-nutrition-educated medical establishment does not understand how effective it is for controlling inflammatory conditions when combined with a professionally designed dietary plan. They would prefer to cover a prescription for a pharmaceutical solution. If that worked for you, then I assume you wouldn’t have found your way to me.

I like to look at it this way: For less than $1,000 you could feel better for the rest of your life. Isn’t that worth it?

Posted in: food sensitivities

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