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dmlavigne1 said: <rant>
or.... Will a doctor write one to allow me to deduct a preventitive measure?

It pisses me off that in this country we reward the people that mess up and then try to fix themselves instead of rewarding people that never let it get there.
</rant>


Now, now, what happened to "at least I have my health"? Your own behavior and the ability to fit into and look good in whatever clothes you choose is it's own reward.

I'm still trying to drop some lbs from some mediation I took two years ago. You bet I'd take the weight I was at before over any FSA 35% deduction that probably requires loads of paperwork (relatively speaking) to redeem. Either way I'm contacting my doc because she was impressed with some recent weight loss and would likely be willing to write me something.

Could someone please scan in their LMN with names, letterheads, etc blanked so I can give my doc as a quick sample if she hasn't written one before?

Dragonsnack said: Would somebody mind posting a link to the new FSA IRS publication? I've been trawling through the IRS website, google, etc and I can't seem to find it. I'm looking for more details on this such as the rules on the aforementioned massages, etc.

Search for 125 or cafeteria plan regs.

VerbalK said: Dragonsnack said: Would somebody mind posting a link to the new FSA IRS publication? I've been trawling through the IRS website, google, etc and I can't seem to find it. I'm looking for more details on this such as the rules on the aforementioned massages, etc.

Search for 125 or cafeteria plan regs.


Section 125

Can anyone help translate that into English?

How does this affect those of us with HSA's?

Probably not I suppose.

TITLE 26 > Subtitle A > CHAPTER 1 > Subchapter B > PART VII > § 213Prev | Next (d) Definitions
For purposes of this section—
(1) The term “medical care” means amounts paid—
(A) for the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease, or for the purpose of affecting any structure or function of the body,
(B) for transportation primarily for and essential to medical care referred to in subparagraph (A),
(C) for qualified long-term care services (as defined in section 7702B (c)), or
(D) for insurance (including amounts paid as premiums under part B of title XVIII of the Social Security Act, relating to supplementary medical insurance for the aged) covering medical care referred to in subparagraphs (A) and (B) or for any qualified long-term care insurance contract (as defined in section 7702B (b)).


I think this is really all you need to know. It's vague enough that through preamble, any program can define for itself what it considers to meet the definition. Therefore, the IRS won't let you put health clubs on you 1040 sch A, but a flex spending plan may allow it with justification.

Based on the wording of (A), that could include everything you eat. "For the purpose of affecting any structure or function of the body."

Tattoos, piercings? Cleaning products (for the prevention of disease)?

It "could", but it doesn't... we get to decide what it means. And if you don't like it, go ahead and sue us.

JaneiR36 said: Could someone please scan in their LMN with names, letterheads, etc blanked so I can give my doc as a quick sample if she hasn't written one before?


This is generally what it needs to say...

Jane____ is a patient under my care for the treatment of X condition. She requires frequent physcial activity to increase cardiovasular health/ reduce joint pain/ etc. I recommend she obtain a health club membership to gain access to specialized equipment for at least one year.

Signed,

Dr. __________

(make sure his/her license number is listed)

dmlavigne1 said: For the price of the memberships, it should be paid by your health incurance company! It saves them boatloads by being in shape.
My old plan used to reimburse up to $100 per year. Just enough to make you signup for a couple months I suppose.

I'm surprised fully reimbursing membership by health insurance companies isn't widespread. Seems like it would be cost-effective if they had some kind of deals with gyms where you get reimbursed as long as you come at least once a week or so.

puddonhead said: The IRS website still says otherwise http://www.irs.gov/publications/p502/ar02.html

Quoted from this publication - "You cannot include membership dues in a gym, health club, or spa as medical expenses, but you can include separate fees charged there for weight loss activities".

So any links to any official publication/announcement stating that Gym membership is allowed?


You know what, this DOES apply. I'm not so sure you can't deduct health club dues IF they are related to a specific medical condition.

"Health Club Dues
You cannot include in medical expenses health club dues or amounts paid to improve one's general health or to relieve physical or mental discomfort not related to a particular medical condition.

You cannot include in medical expenses the cost of membership in any club organized for business, pleasure, recreation, or other social purpose
"

If you have an LMN... I think you are free and clear to write it off on your taxes. If you follow the FSA guidelines (ie must be a new membership, limited time frame, specific medical condition), I think you could indeed claim it.

Meats said: tax breaks are created to encourage certain behavior.

our government should be encouraging physical exercise to reduce health care costs and promote higher quality of living.

Part of me says, "Oh yes, tax breaks for good behavior. That sounds nice."

Part of me says, "Arrgrggh" and runs around in circles screaming.

Guess I'm a political hermaphrodite. Confused and infertile.

lampy2k4 said:
I'm surprised fully reimbursing membership by health insurance companies isn't widespread. Seems like it would be cost-effective if they had some kind of deals with gyms where you get reimbursed as long as you come at least once a week or so.


A problem here is that the health insurance only saves money if you go to the gym regularly, work hard, and stay fit. However, the gym's business model generally depends on a lot of people paying for long subscriptions then not using them. The gym wants your 1-year membership fee up front, but they aren't actually too thrilled when you come in, put wear and tear on the equipment, sweat on the floor, dirty their towels, etc.

Minoritydan said: How does this affect those of us with HSA's?

Probably not I suppose.


this is awesome that you are thinking in these terms!!! Using HSA dollars to keep yourself healthy to avoid future medical costs! That's the whole point behind "CDHP - Consumer Driven Health Plan" and "HDHP - High Deductible Health Plan."

I work for a large Insurance company and I'm going to try to start legislation to get this going...ie, try to have fitness memberships as part of section 213 (details allowed HSA dollar spending).

As of today, it's not a part of allowed HSA dollars.

Keep in mind that HSA dollars are yours to use as you like. At the end of the tax year you will be asked how much did you spend from your HSA dollar account and how much of those dollars were for medical expenses or items allowed under section 213. So, if you say that it was all for medical expenses, then that's the end of it...it's a self-policed system. I AM NOT SAYING FOR YOU TO DO THIS. Cheating on your taxes can be damaging IF you are to be audited.

What am I going to do? I'm going to get a doctor's note that I should get a gym membership to help my weight and improve my health. It's in the right spirit!!!!

Let's get real...5% of the population are diagnosed Diabetics and another 5% are un-diagnosed Diabetics. Basically, if you celebrate Halloween you're doulbe the likely hood of being a diabetic. Sugar, sugar, sugar and obesity in America is out of control. If we can join a gym and keep ourselves healthy we'll be saving the healthcare system more than anything Obama administration can do. That's the truth!!!

Peace out and don't forget to get your medical checkups and cancer screenings (if you are in the targeted age range!)

right on dm lavigne and chicagoster -- i couldn't agree more

right on dm lavigne and chicagoster -- i couldn't agree more

Still peripherally on topic (I hope), I'm assuming this same reasoning would apply to buying exercise equipment for your home (e.g., a treadmill or elliptical). Does anyone know if there is a dollar limit on this? Assuming medical necessity, could I buy a top of the line Precor and use funds from my FSA to pay for it?

And has anyone heard of justifying gym membership and/or home exercise equipment for the treatment of depressive disorders (obviously, this is assuming there is a history of mental health treatment for the individual)? There is a mountain of medical research showing that exercise is as or more effective in the treatment of depressive disorders than medication, therapy, or a combination thereof. Seems like the cost of a gym membership, treadmill, elliptical, or whatever else would probably be cheaper than having to pay for years of medication and/or therapy.

Thanks!



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