Can my insurance pay for “the gym?”: An update on PHIT legislation

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Can my insurance pay for “the gym?”: An update on PHIT legislation

Monte Ward, ACSM Vice President of Government Relations |  Sept. 18, 2017

Personal Health Investment Today, better known as PHIT is a campaign that was launched in January of 2013 by organizations like ACSM committed to healthy lifestyles. The mission of PHIT is to “dramatically improve the health of Americans, especially children, by implementing pro-activity programs.” The PHIT campaign also includes a legislative component:  The PHIT Act (H.R. 1267/S. 482). This legislation is currently pending in Congress and would allow for reimbursement of physical activity expenses using pre-tax dollars in Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs). The PHIT Act would expand the definition of a medical expense to include qualified physical activities as a form of disease and illness prevention.What does the proposed legislation mean for you and what will its impact be? The American

College of Sports Medicine supports the PHIT Act because it will help American families to overcome financial barriers to active lifestyles. This legislation supports coverage of youth and adult sports league fees, youth sports camps, gym and health club memberships, pay-to-play school sports fees, exercise and yoga classes, required physical education uniforms, personal trainer fees, fitness tracking devices, sports and fitness equipment, bike rentals, and more.

One of the top causes of death in The United States is physical inactivity, with 5.5 percent of all deaths in the United States caused by physical inactivity. Additionally, 80 percent of children are at risk for disease due to physical inactivity, and two-thirds of the youth population is not active at a standard level for health.  If this dangerous trend is to improve, there must be a cultural change that starts with the young. The United States currently has the least physically active generation of children ever, and it is time to take a stand against sedentary behavior. The passing of the PHIT Act would be a strong show of support for the development of healthy lifestyles for American children and families.      

Congress is expected to consider the PHIT Act as part of a broader tax reform package and we need your help.

Contact your members of Congress and urge them to cosponsor the PHIT Act.

By showing our support, Congress will understand the importance of this critical legislation that encourages all Americans to lead active, healthy lives.

ACSM advocacy efforts support evidence-based public policy that encourages healthy lifestyles and the safe enjoyment of sports and other physical activities. ACSM members serve as expert resources for federal, state and local policy makers, ensuring that decisions are founded on the latest research.

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