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The IHRSA Advocate is your guide to knowing and understanding the policies that influence daily health club operations. We analyze the action, so you know when to take your own.

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Pre-Tax Health Savings Accounts Will Still Cover Weight-Loss Programs

This coming January, you may see more members coming in on doctor’s orders, as weight-loss programs managed to remain on the list of medical expenses eligible for pre-tax health savings account coverage, after the IRS made revisions to the U.S. tax code.

In order to qualify as a medical expense, the weight loss must be for the treatment of a specific disease (i.e., hypertension, obesity or heart disease) diagnosed by a physician.

Activities for the improvement of appearance, general health or sense of well-being are not considered a medical expense.  Additionally, though consumers cannot include gym membership fees, they can include fees paid separately for a weight reduction group or program.

You can find more information on IRS Publication 502 online at