WASHINGTON, D.C.—March 14, 2023—IHRSA, the Global Health & Fitness Association, today applauded newly introduced bipartisan legislation that will improve Americans’ health and fitness by allowing flexible spending and health savings accounts to be used for physical activity products and services as well as youth sports.
The Personal Health Investment Today (PHIT) Act is led by Representatives Kelly, Panetta, Fitzpatrick, Sewell, LaHood, and Boyle, and by Senators Murphy, Thune, Cramer, Tillis, Marshall, Capito, Wicker, Tim Scott, Baldwin, Sinema, and King. The bill is designed to encourage healthier lifestyles, provide financial incentives to ease burdens for healthy behavior, and increase the ability of persons of all ages to engage in more active behaviors.
IHRSA has previously noted that these accounts allow eligible users to designate up to the maximum—$3,050 in 2023—pre-tax to an employer managed account to purchase nonprescription items, glasses, sunblock, bandages, over the counter products, and a variety of products and services to protect and improve their health. This includes services like in-home lead paint abatement, disability adaptive programs and services, transportation for medical appointments and services, as well as thousands of products sold by retailers, drug stores, and suppliers.
While approximately 30 million Americans use the flex accounts, approximately half of all users forfeit a combined $400-500 million each year, funds that revert to employers if not used in full within the required time constraint. Every dollar consumers contribute to flex accounts is tax free and reduces their taxable income by that amount—up to the annual limit. Most government employees and 43% of private sector employees have access to these programs.
“The PHIT Act is good policy in Washington, D.C., because it brings equity to the tax treatment of products and services that directly benefit the physical and mental health of consumers. And it is good policy in every community because it does as the flex and health programs were originally intended: expands the number of people encourage and supports behavior that improves health and fitness,” said IHRSA President & CEO Liz Clark.
“The health and fitness industry is as diverse as the communities we serve, and that is why more than 70 million consumers regularly visit clubs, studios, classes, community programs, and other group and structured exercise programs. Better fitness improves individual health, community health, will support better military recruitment and retention, and help provide vital mental and physical health for all Americans. We applaud our bipartisan leaders in the House and Senate and look forward to mobilizing our nationwide grassroots coalition to push for passage,” she added.
IHRSA, the Global Health & Fitness Association, is a not-for-profit trade association representing the global fitness industry of over 200,000 health and fitness facilities and their suppliers. Founded in 1981, IHRSA maintains a leadership role in advancing physical activity, which is critical for peak health and to fight the battle against obesity and chronic lifestyle diseases.
As the world's leading authority on the commercial health and fitness club industry, IHRSA’s mission is to grow, promote, and protect the health and fitness industry, while providing its members with benefits and resources. IHRSA is the publisher of Club Business International, the leading monthly magazine for the global fitness industry. IHRSA's International Convention & Trade Show will be hosted from March 20-22 in San Diego. To apply for a complimentary press pass, fill out this form.