Frequently Asked Questions
How much will my program cost?
Cost will depend on several things, and we need to present all of the information to you. Factors that influence the cost of our programs include which program you enroll in, the number of weeks you stay on the program, the daily calorie level you follow (this determines the frequency of medical visits and lab work), and your state of health. We do not have any hidden costs. We will tell you exactly what you can expect to pay. Because we do not take insurance reimbursement directly (although you may be able to claim insurance reimbursement for portions of your program) you will reap extraordinary savings over what you would be charged at other medical clinics. We never want cost to be the reason you are not able to achieve your weight goals. Your health is too important.
Will my insurance cover this program?
It depends. Because of the complex nature of insurance and health care, it is impossible for us to make a general statement about insurance coverage. It will depend on what kind of insurance policy your employer has negotiated with the insurance carrier. Many employees have alternative plans to choose from, so it may also depend on what plan you have chosen. Other factors that may influence insurance reimbursement include:
- whether or not you have another health problem related to your weight (ie. diabetes, sleep apnea, hypertension, etc.)
- what kinds of services you are receiving, and how many. For example, you may have full or partial coverage for the medical portion of the program, but not for the meal replacements.
Because of the complexity and expense related to insurance reimbursement, we do not accept any insurance reimbursement at our clinic. This is how we are able to provide you with excellent value. We are very happy to give you information for you to give to your insurance company, or to answer any questions they may have. Please note that if you have a Flexible Health Spending Account (FSA) with your employer, and a BMI of 30 or higher, ALL of our services ARE reimbursable through a FSA program.
How do I pay for the program?
We do not want cost to be a barrier for you to enroll in our programs. We have several excellent options available, including interest-free financing through Care Credit. In fact, we are the only non-surgical weight management clinic in Minnesota that Care Credit will work with. We will be happy to go over the options with you to find the best fit for your budget.
The IRS allows medical weight management programs to be included in Flexible Spending Accounts through your employer. If you have such a program, and a BMI of 30 or higher, you may use pre-tax dollars to pay for the services of your program. Please check with your employer’s benefits administrator regarding this.
Is this program tax deductible?
Yes, most of it. As of April 7, 2002, the IRS allows people who are diagnosed as obese by a physician to deduct the costs of the services in your program. The revenue ruling, IR 2002-19, approves the fees related to services (i.e. medical services and nutrition education meetings) when they are occurring for medically valid reasons. A person must be under the guidance of a physician in order to qualify. The ruling does not cover the cost for foods or food replacements (ie. medical weight loss products), which people would have to pay for, anyway. The ruling was intended for taxpayers claiming medical expenses in excess of 7.5% of their adjusted gross income as a personal deduction on individual taxes. It is important to note the ruling does not apply to weight loss services that are aimed at improving a person’s appearance or general health. Those services are non-deductible, and health clubs and spas are not viable treatment options under this ruling.
The IRS ruling is currently available online at http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-drop/rr-02-19.pdf. Please thoroughly research this with your accountant, as laws and rulings may change without our knowledge.
May I use my flexible spending account (FSA) to pay for the program?
People who have a Medical FSA may use their current year plan to pay for eligible weight loss expenses. The key to FSA claims is proper documentation from a physician stating the diagnosis of obesity and its treatment program. We provide this. For further information, call us or contact a tax advisor.
If you did not find the answer to your question, please contact us. We are always ready to answer any questions that you may have.