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Readers Respond: Should Insurance Cover Some of the Expense of Gluten-Free Food?

Responses: 12


Updated July 06, 2009

In some countries (but not the United States), the extra costs of gluten-free food are covered by health insurance or government subsidies. Some states require insurance carriers to reimburse the extra expense of special diets for certain diseases (such as phenylketonuria, branched-chain ketonuria, galactosemia and homocystinuria), but not celiac disease. Do you think the extra costs of the gluten-free diet should be at least partly covered by insurance subsidies?


This is more a response to the people who wrote "where to draw the line" etc. How about at genetically based diseases? The 4 diseases covered are all genetic. So, how about it? If Celiac is based on bad genes, shouldn't it be covered too? (Or should the above diseases PKU, etc., not be covered?)

Unit Assistant

Yes, I do think that they should cover some of the cost, because Insurance companies do no even cover dietary consults. I am one of those that have to get my medical from the internet. If there is anything that can be done to help my husband and I, it would be great. My husband is a diabetic and our insurance company will not cover a dietician. It is United Health Care and Now we have Etna, it is th same. Thanks Audrey
—Guest Audrey Spence


If insurance were to pay for special diets, they would have to pay for expensive weight loss food, diabetic food, etc. I know my food costs more, but I don't want my insurance premiums going up FURTHER because of it.
—Guest GAKaren

yes they should

I have a child that has two special diets, one is low protein and the other is a gluten free diet. People who have special needs with diets is a medical nessacity, not a want.. Who would want to live that way? You ask yourself that question. It is a battle everyday for the people that must eat and live this way... It is like telling the person who needs insulin because they are a diabetic that it is not necessary. The insurance companies use to be required to pay my daughters food, however, over the years we weaned her to regualr food but now she mst maintain a gluten free diet. So I will be back to the drawing board and start lobbing for this medical diet to paid by the insurance company. I think its sad to think that our world think that people would choose to live this way. But I will keep fighting for my daughter and her rights...like every parent would...
—Guest tami karczmer


These diseases are medical conditions, that are worse if diet guidelines are not followed. What is the difference if it is a diet modification or a medication that works for a patient/person?????? Unreal how these corporations evade their responsibilities. Pure semantics.
—Guest Christine

Yes, and so should Food Stamps!

Currently food stamps do not provide you with enough money per month to purchase gluten-free items! In GA (where I live) you can only use your food stamps where the QUEST sign is displayed. Not everyone takes this. You cannot use it for online shopping (which is where a lot of the gluten free stuff is)...so it helps, but is nowhere NEAR enough! Insurance companies should be required by law to at the VERY least reimburse for the cost of the GF items. You wouldn't be buying them if you didn't HAVE to because of your health. (sigh) In most cases, anyway.
—Guest Jan Ball

Insurance Coverage

I think it should be supplemented to a degree because, in essence when you have a family, you wind up buying two sets of groceries. One for yourself and then for the rest of the family.
—Guest Kathy Smith

It would be nice.....

......although not very probable. I would love to see the price of gluten free products come down possibly. You don't have to buy a lot of specially made products, you can use a lot of what God gives us naturally, but once in a while it is nice to have the next best thing. I can't seem to go into the healthfood store and come out spending under 50 dollars and that is a one arm bagful.
—Guest Bev


While I don't think all food should be covered, consuming the right kind of food is like taking medication, so I think there should be some form of subsidization. But I also think gym memberships, meditation training and other preventive care should be covered--it would save a lot of money on the back end!
—Guest Elizabeth369

It would start a difficult precedent

I agree with Mia -- if insurance companies start paying for gluten-free food, they would also have to pay for peanut-free and egg-free and dairy-free food for people with those intolerances. Unfortunately, I think it would start us down a slippery slope.
—Guest MdMomof3

Yes, Insurance Should Cover the Expense

Insurance companies should cover the extra cost of gluten-free foods. Those who follow a celiac diet need to buy these often expensive foods. It's not a matter of wanting to eat some gourmet caviar or truffles: it's a matter of health.
—Guest Andrea

Where to Draw the Line?

A lot of people have some kind of food intolerance that requires them to eat special, and oftentimes more expensive foods. If we start paying for gluten-free food, we should also start paying for every other special need food. Where do we draw the line? I'd rather see the insurance companies subsidize gym memberships, which could benefit nearly everyone.
—Guest Mia

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