What is the Personal Health Investment Today (PHIT) Act?


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. 

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.



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.



How can I help get the PHIT Act passed?


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. 


You can e-mail your representatives by clicking here.





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