On March 1, 2017, the Personal Health Investment Today Act (PHIT) (H.R. 1267/S.482) was introduced in both the House and Senate. This bipartisan bill has a historic number of original cosponsors. Under the provisions of PHIT individuals and families alike would be able to use Health Savings Accounts and Flexible Spending Accounts to pay for an array of physical activity related expenses.
PHIT benefits a wide variety of people and populations across the country. Let’s take a look at how PHIT would increase your opportunities to get moving:
It can be difficult for families to afford activities for every member. Parents invest hundreds if not thousands of dollars each year to support their children’s sports teams, pay-to-play leagues, and dance classes, leaving very little money to pay for their own activity, gym membership, or sports league. In addition, new equipment is often needed each year to keep up with kid’s growth spurts and abilities. This is unfortunate, as sports and recreation leagues have a variety of perks aside from increasing fitness, like expanding social networks, boosting confidence, and improving teamwork and quick thinking skills. Imagine if families could use their pre-tax medical accounts to cover the cost of both youth and adult league fees so the entire family could reap the benefits of these activities? With PHIT that’s possible!
Millennials are considered to be one of the most educated generations in history. Another unique trait of this generation is their affinity for and proficiency in technology. Millennials thrive on having information at their fingertips, through their phones, tablets or wearable devices. Unfortunately, the pressures of becoming financially stable, paying off student loans and affording the increasingly high cost of living have make it challenging for this group to pay for regular physical activity. With PHIT, Millennials can use their HSA and FSA funds for fitness expenses like gym memberships, personal trainers, and group fitness and yoga classes. PHIT would even cover wearable technology to provide instant access to fitness progress.
When it comes to fitness, one shoe does not fit all. Every demographic—age, geography, socioeconomic status and more contribute to how individuals view physical activity and incorporate it into their lifestyle. Do you enjoy a leisurely afternoon on the golf course, or prefer a vigorous match of tennis? PHIT would cover those fees. Maybe you favor working out alone and like to hit your home gym. PHIT can help you pay for equipment. Alternatively, you might enjoy mixing social events and friendly competition into your physical activity. PHIT would cover race entry fees for events like themed 5K races or even marathons.
PHIT helps reduce some of the financial barriers that prevent many Americans from adopting active lifestyles. Solutions to the physical inactivity epidemic must be multi-pronged and collaborative. Not one solution alone can fix the problem. It will take several measures over many years to get our country to a point of not just surviving, but thriving. ACE believes that PHIT is a positive step in this process.
Help us pass PHIT! Encourage your Congressperson to sponsor the bill and thank them for their support at www.acefitness.org/passphit.