WASHINGTON—U.S. Senators Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and John Thune (R-S.D.) this week 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.
“I’m glad to be reintroducing the PHIT Act with Senator Thune to make it easier for Americans to lead more active lives,” said Murphy. “The PHIT Act would allow people to use their flexible spending accounts to cover physical activity expenses like gym memberships, little league and youth sports, and fitness equipment. This legislation removes barriers to a healthy lifestyle, and can potentially reverse the trend of chronic health issues throughout our communities like obesity and diabetes.”
“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.”
“Now more than ever, particularly as the country begins to recover from the Coronavirus pandemic, we need to do more to reduce barriers to play and improve the opportunity for all kids to get in the game,” said Kim Davis, senior executive vice president of social impact, growth initiatives and legislative affairs of the NHL. “The PHIT Act will help families get back on the ice after more than year of navigating uncertainty, and we commend Senators Chris Murphy and John Thune for leading this important effort to encourage fitness and access to sport.”
“The pandemic has highlighted a critical issue: inactive individuals were at higher risk of severe COVID outcomes,” said Tom Cove, CEO and president of the Sports & Fitness Industry Association. “Our research has shown time and again that individuals in lower-income households are less active. Following the catastrophic consequences of the COVID-19 virus, we must make healthy, active lifestyles a national priority and PHIT allows us to do that by making it affordable for American families. SFIA applauds Senator Murphy and Senator Thune for their leadership in helping Americans be more active and healthy.”
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.).