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Personal Health Investment Today Act (PHIT) 

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The PHIT Act (H.B.1267 and S.482) would make it easier for Americans to be physically active.

PHIT Introduced!
PHIT, the fitness industry's top legislative priority, was introduced in Congress on March 1, 2017, in the House by Reps. Smith and Kind, who were joined by 10 original co-sponsors, and in the Senate by Senators Thune & Murphy, who were joined by Senators Capito and Donnelly. See the full list of Sponsors at Why Pass PHIT! 

The PHIT Act, which stands for Personal Health Investment Today, would expand the definition of a medical expense to include physical activity and allow consumers to use pre-tax accounts like Health Savings Accounts (HSA) and Flexible Savings Accounts (FSA) to pay for qualified fitness expenses. Currently, the IRS code only allows these accounts to be used for medical expenses.

By allowing HSAs and FSAs to pay for fitness expenses, individuals will be able to set aside up to $1,000 pre-tax dollars, and families will be able to budget $2,000. If passed, the PHIT Act could save individuals and families up to 20 to 30% on their fitness and sports expenses.

How does PHIT help your club or fitness business?

The PHIT Act will make physical activity more affordable. Your members stand to save 20-30% on their fitness expenses if PHIT passes. Club members will be able to use pre-tax health savings accounts to pay for their memberships, training fees, and fitness equipment the same way they currently use the accounts for prescription medications and doctor visits. 

How can I help get the PHIT Act passed?

#1. PHIT has bipartisan support in Congress, but we need your help. By educating your members about PHIT, you can help lay the groundwork for the legislation’s success. The Get PHIT Toolkit will help you educate your health club members about the importance of PHIT and how they'll benefit. So, download the Get PHIT Toolkit, share it with your staff, and start engaging your members.

#2. Download additional #PassPHIT resources to explain the benefits of passing PHIT

#2. Contact the representatives and senators that were elected to represent you and your business, and ask them to help make physical activity more affordable in America by supporting PHIT. 

PHIT Advocacy

  • PHIT was introduced on March 1, 2017 in the House by Representatives Kind and Smith, and in the Senate by Senators John Thune (R-SD), Chris Murphy (D-Conn). Opportunities for PHIT to be included in larger legislation in the 115th Congress include healthcare reform and tax reform.
  • PHIT was previously introduced in the Senate in October of 2015 by U.S. Senators John Thune (R-SD), Chris Murphy (D-Conn), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), and Joe Donnelly (D-Ind). 
  • PHIT was previously introduced in March of 2015 in the House by Reps. Boustany (R-LA) and Kind (D-WI). 
  • PHIT was scored July 22, 2014 at an estimated $2.5 billion dollars over 10 years. There is ample evidence showing that this cost will be more than offset by health care savings derived from Americans becoming more active. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, America spends around $74 billion each year on physical inactivity-related medical costs.

Why is PHIT Important?

  • 64% of American adults and 34% of American children suffer from overweight, obesity, and physical inactivity. These rising rates of obesity and Americans’ proclivity for inactivity are resulting in double digit annual increases in healthcare costs to the government and business.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that healthcare costs directly associated with inactivity were $76.6 billion in 2000; roughly one-third of those costs ($25 billion) fall directly on U.S. taxpayers since approximately one in three Americans is covered by a taxpayer-funded health plan.
  • The PHIT Act would help to reverse the trend of increasing physical inactivity and obesity by eliminating a federal policy barrier and providing an important tax incentive to promote exercise.
  • Public health experts agree that regular physical activity substantially reduces the risk and symptoms of numerous chronic diseases and medical conditions, resulting in fewer hospitalizations, physician visits, medications and lower healthcare costs.
  • Under the current set-up, Americans predominantly use pre-tax accounts to pay for treatment and detection of illnesses: prescription drugs, doctor visits, examinations and screenings.
  • Depending upon their income tax bracket, the PHIT Act could help Americans save 20-30% on the cost of physical activities, exercise programs and related expenses.
  • The PHIT Act tax incentive represents an important tangible benefit that the federal government can provide to promote healthier lifestyles and reverse the rising costs of treating obesity-related chronic diseases.

Frequently Asked Questions about the PHIT Act

1. Why is the PHIT Act necessary?
The PHIT Act would make access to physical activity more affordable for all Americans.

2. What will the PHIT Act do?
The PHIT Act would change the types of expenditures that could be payable with pre-tax dollars through tax-favored investment accounts such as FSAs and HSAs – up to $1,000 annually ($2,000 for married couples filing jointly). Under the current law, Americans are only able to use pre-tax accounts to pay for treatment and detection (prescription drugs, doctor visits, examinations and screenings), not prevention.  
PHIT would expand these savings account expenditures to include fitness center dues, exercise equipment, youth sports fees and other fees associated with physical activity programs.

3. What will the PHIT Act cost?
IHRSA met with the Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation and requested a “score” for the PHIT Act, which determines the total cost of implementing the bill over a ten year period. The bill was "scored" in July, 2014 at a cost of $2.5 billion dollars over 10 years.