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Every year, thousands of adults and children in the U.S. are diagnosed with digestive and metabolic disorders. They often need access to medical foods. The Medical Nutrition Equity Act of 2021 (S.2013/H.R.3783 or MNEA) is a bill that would require public and private insurance to cover medical foods, vitamins, and individual amino acids.

Digestive disorders covered by Medical Nutrition Equity Act of 2021 include:

(It does not include foods marketed as allergy free or gluten free for the management of food allergies or celiac disease.)

Medical foods are nutrition products (which often include elemental formulas like Neocateยฎ or EleCareยฎ) that are made to manage a disease or condition. They are prescribed and used under medical supervision. They are not the same as foods recommended by a doctor as part of a diet to manage symptoms. These products are sometimes needed to give complete or added nutrition. Children need proper nutrition for growth, mental development, and immune system development.

If your child needs medical foods, you usually order them through a pharmacy or durable medical equipment (DME) provider. They can cost four to five times more than common foods you buy in a grocery store. Even though many states require some coverage of medical foods, it is different in each state. And these rules may not apply to private insurance.

For example, some insurance companies only cover medical foods that are given through feeding tubes, even if the child or adult can eat the food by mouth.

Food insecurity has worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic. The cost of medical foods is a major burden on individuals and families facing financial challenges.

You can read more about this important bill at NutritionEquity.org. You can also read stories from people with these conditions or even share your own.

Help us expand coverage of medical foods by acting now! If passed, this bill will help ease the financial and emotional burden for people and families managing digestive and metabolic disorders.



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My son was diagnosed with life threatening food allergies as an infant.  He could not tolerate any over the counter infant formulas.  I had to go through several pediatricians to get to the right help.  This was 14 years ago, when there was much less understanding of food allergies and little support.  I received a prescription for Neocate Formula, which had to be purchased through a pharmacy but insurance did not cover it.  Paying the full cost of this product was unbelievable.  Looking back, I believe it was well over $100 for a small can.  With how quickly an infant goes through formula, this was not affordable.  Appealing through the insurance company and writing letters was unsuccessful.  I remember being afraid to spill the formula or waste any tiny bit of it.  Eventually, I was able to source the product outside of the pharmacy on my own efforts, but it was not easy.  I could never understand why insurance would not cover a prescription medical food?  I am very glad to see that 14 years later there are serious actions moving forward to make medical foods more accessible to all people.  Thank you for the work you are doing!!!

C
Kids With Food Allergies
A Division of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America
1235 South Clark Street Suite 305, Arlington, VA 22202
Phone: 1-800-7-ASTHMA (1.800.727.8462)
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