Pre-Tax Flexible Spending for Personal Training
Does your employer offer Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA)? Did you know you can use your pre-tax FSA dollars for personal training? You sure can. If you participate in a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) with your company, and are considered to have a medical necessity for personal training, the amount you are required to pay for any personal fitness services may be reimbursable to you from your FSA. This can provide you with pre-taxed dollars to go toward your personal training program, which can save you lots of money. In addition, at the end of the year, people are always looking for ways to exhaust their FSAs because they are “use it or lose it.” Using your FSA for personal training will give you the ability to use those dollars for your wellness routine.
What is a qualifying medical expense for your FSA?
Weight management programs, if prescribed by a doctor is eligible under FSA. According to the IRS, qualifying medical expenses are the costs of diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment or prevention of disease and the costs associated for treatments affecting any part or function of the body. Medical care expenses must be primarily to alleviate or prevent a physical or mental defect or illness (ex. Carpal Tunnel, Stress, back Pain, Arthritis, Diabetes, Hypertension, Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue, Anxiety, Depression, Pain Management, Weight Management).
You can include in medical expenses amounts you pay to lose weight if it is a treatment for a specific disease diagnosed by a physician (such as obesity, hypertension, or heart disease). This includes fees you pay for membership in a weight reduction group and attendance at periodic meetings. You cannot include membership dues in a health club, or spa as medical expenses, but you can include separate fees charged there for weight loss activities, such as personal training.
So, how does it work?
- See your fitness trainer for a consultation and a plan of action.
- Call your doctor and tell them that you have an FSA and would like to use your pre-tax dollars for your fitness care. Ask your doctor to write you a letter and/or prescription for your fitness program. The letter must include the following information:
- Treatment duration
- Equipment / medication / therapy / program needed for treatment.
- Date of issue the DRs RX / Letter of medical necessity.
- For whom the treatment is prescribed.
- Doctor’s name and signature.
- Keep all of your receipts for your training, and submit a claim to your FSA administrator for reimbursement. You will probably have to submit the claim with the doctor’s letter and/or prescription for services. The prescription is valid for one year from the date it was written.
Most doctors would agree that physical exercise programs with strength training is a necessary component to good health, so it should not be difficult to get the letter. It also is a good way to save on healthcare costs, as it has been proven that exercise helps to alleviate several chronic medical conditions.
Consider putting money into your FSA and committing that to your personal training plan. That way, you can fatten up your wallet while slimming down for the New Year!