Why doesn’t an FSA cover personal fitness devices?

Does a Flexible Spending Account cover Fitbit?

The newest fitness trends and products point to consumers taking matters into their own hands toward improved well-being. With the rise in popularity of fitness apps, aids and other products, it’s no wonder that many Flexible Spending Account (FSA) holders are wondering: why aren’t these health-centric items covered by my benefits?

For those with an FSA, fitness devices like the Fitbit, Jawbone Up and others may seem like they should be FSA eligible, which refers to products and services with a legitimate medical purpose. However, they are not FSA eligible. Insurance companies will inevitably save money in the long run with a customer base who eats healthier, sleeps on a normal schedule and exercises regularly, and since many new diagnostic products can assist in all of these factors, it stands to reason that they should be included in standard coverage.

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What might the future hold?

What seems like a black and white issue for FSA account holders gets a bit more complicated when one dives into the statistics behind the usage of these fitness aids. After all, many fitness apps that can be downloaded onto smartphones and tablets provide the same features as popular personal fitness products, often at little or no cost. Worse yet, a study conducted by Endeavour Partners found that while one tenth of American adults own a fitness-tracking device, one-third stopped using it within six months, and more than one half have abandoned them altogether.

At this juncture, it doesn’t appear that insurance companies will begin covering personal fitness devices in the foreseeable future, instead leaving it up to consumers to decide how they will spend their money in regards to their health and well-being. While a licensed physician could feasibly recommend one of these products as part of a treatment plan for a medical condition with a Letter of Medical Necessity for an individual with an FSA, widespread coverage of these products does not seem to be on the horizon.

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