Are gym memberships eligible? Learn about FSA eligible fitness expenses.

That's Eligible?! Fitness Expenses and Your Flexible Spending Account

Flexible spending accounts + gym

Are gym memberships FSA eligible? As much as we want to use our FSA funds to cover your monthly gym membership, weight loss program, or occasional spin classes, they are not considered an eligible expense. However, if your doctor or other medical practitioner recommends exercise at a gym or a weight loss program to treat a specific medical condition, these may be FSA eligible with a Letter of Medical Necessity (LMN).

If you have a medical condition, such as obesity, and a doctor requires you to work out or join a regimented weight loss program, they can create an LMN for your benefits administrator that could allow you to cover the healthcare expense with your FSA dollars. Be sure to check with your benefits administrator and check out this post for more about these exceptions and the LMN process. The IRS looks at health club/gym membership fees as “general health” items, rather than having the primary purpose of treating specific medical conditions. Unfortunately, this results in gym memberships not being considered FSA eligible unless used primarily to treat disease and not general good health, where the gym membership would not have been utilized anyway in the absence of a medical condition.

If you're looking to invest in home exercise equipment to meet fitness goals and take better care of your general health, these fitness expenses are currently not FSA eligible and follow the same guidelines as gym memberships.

Fitness tips

If you’re looking to kick start your fitness routine or stay on track with your current exercise goals, you might have a few questions. People often wonder how long they should exercise for, how many days per week to aim for, what types of exercise routines to create, and what to eat.

Health experts recommend adults maintain a daily activity of 30 minutes. In between your meetings and busy schedule, it may seem like a struggle to find even 20 minutes to get exercise done per day. However, if you think about it, you could separate your routine into a few minutes throughout the day. Meeting that 30-minute routine will not only benefit your health, but will also ensure you maintain a healthy weight and restore your energy levels.

FSA eligible fitness products

When you're looking for a little inspiration to reactivate your gym membership, a bit of self-investment can go a long way. Whether it's a new lineup of workout gear, a fitness tracker, or a new pair of running shoes, you don't want to waste your hard-earned money — which might just be the boost you need to stay on top of your fitness goals and improve your general health. Let's cut through the confusion about a few of the most asked about fitness products and services, and see what exactly is eligible to make it onto your FSA shopping list.

1. Fitness trackers

We hear about trackers -- like Fitbit or even the Apple Watch -- all the time. While digital fitness trackers have been introduced to company wellness programs as an incentive for employees to get in better shape, they are considered for general good health use by the IRS and not for the treatment of a specific medical condition. Therefore, they remain ineligible with an FSA.

However, we know that tracking vitals is important for some to keep on top of their wellness. Devices that monitor, screen, or test for the presence of a disease or medical condition are FSA eligible. That's why we carry a wide range of more targeted, hi-tech, 100% FSA-eligible health tracking products like blood pressure monitors.

2. Footwear

Under the IRS guidelines, even the most advanced cross-training shoes don't qualify as FSA-eligible. But that doesn't mean you can't treat your feet with your FSA dollars. Your FSA funds will cover orthotics, arthritis pain insoles and other orthotic shoe inserts. This type of eligible expense can reduce the impact of exercise on your feet and lower body and help you avoid injuries from poorly-fitting shoes.

Though gym membership is a healthy step in the right direction, the membership fees are only considered eligible with an FSA in very limited circumstances. It’s best to consult your FSA plan description to find out about FSA eligible expenses, or to contact your FSA administrator to get more information. If you want to discover more FSA eligible expenses, take a look at our Eligibility List.


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