When you're looking for a little inspiration to get back in the gym, 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.
Exercise can help prevent many health issues later in life, so why wouldn't fitness products be FSA-eligible? The reality is that IRS regulations are pretty rigid about FSAs covering only products that treat a specific condition. As of right now, these fitness expenses are NOT eligible. But, let's cut through the confusion about a few of the most asked about fitness products and services, to see if they're FSA-eligible.
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 aren't considered FSA-eligible by the IRS because they don't treat or alleviate any one specific health issue.
However, we know that tracking vitals is important for some to keep on top of their wellness. That's why we carry a wide range of more targeted, hi-tech, 100% FSA-eligible health tracking products like blood pressure monitors.
Because of 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 flex dollars. Your FSA will cover orthotics, arthritis pain insoles and other shoe inserts. They can reduce the impact of exercise on your feet and lower body and help you avoid injuries from poorly-fitting shoes.
3. Gym memberships
As much as we want to use our FSA funds to cover your monthly gym membership, it's not considered a qualifying expense. However, if regular exercise becomes necessary for your health, this is an expense that could be 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, they can create an LMN for your benefits administrator that could allow you to cover these costs with your FSA. Check out this post for more about these exceptions, and the LMN process.
If you're looking to invest in home exercise equipment to meet fitness goals, they follow the same guidelines as gym memberships. You'll need to prove that you have a medical condition which requires you to buy specific workout equipment for your home, using an LMN provided by your physician.
Don't waste time hunting for ways to spend your tax-free funds. In That's Eligible?!, we'll bring you these updates every Monday, so you don't have to. And for all things flex spending, be sure to check out the rest of our Learning Center, and follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.