By Pension and Benefits Editorial Staff
U.S. Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) have reintroduced the Personal Health Investment Today (PHIT) Act, legislation that would encourage more physical activity in the United States and incentivize healthier living by allowing Americans to use a portion of the money saved in their pre-tax health savings account (HSA) and/or flexible spending account (FSA) toward qualified sports and fitness purchases, like gym memberships, fitness equipment, and youth sports league fees.
“As a lifelong athlete and fitness enthusiast, I understand the value of and feel grateful to have access to gyms and fitness equipment, especially over the last 12 months,” said Thune. “For some Americans, though, certain gym or athletic league membership costs can be prohibitive, keeping them from pursuing healthy habits like exercising or participating in other physical activities. By giving Americans greater flexibility with their HSAs and FSAs, we can empower people to make healthy choices, get active, and hopefully avoid the onset of costly chronic conditions.”
U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine), who is cosponsoring the legislation, said, “The coronavirus pandemic has reinforced for all Americans the importance of proactively taking care of your health. But for too many of our citizens, cost can get in the way of activities that support physical fitness. The PHIT Act aims to address this challenge and make it easier to join a local gym, purchase appropriate equipment, or afford fees for youth sports league – while also keeping in mind the COVID protocols of such activities. By encouraging routine fitness, we can help prevent more serious and costly medical ailments and improve our nation’s overall public health.”
Qualified expenses do not include private clubs owned and operated by members or clubs with golf, hunting, sailing, or riding facilities. In the case of sports equipment (other than exercise equipment), reimbursement for a single item cannot exceed $250, and these pre-tax dollars cannot be used for general fitness apparel or footwear.
The PHIT Act is cosponsored by Sens. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.V.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Angus King (I-Maine), Lisa Murkowski (R-Ala.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.).
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