Tennis Industry magazine


Our Serve: Pushing a Health Incentive

The start of a new year always seems to be when people resolve to get healthy — to eat better, work out more, lose weight. We in the tennis business want this industry to get healthy, too — more players, more frequent play, more equipment sales. In fact, the savvy tennis business owner or teaching pro knows that the health of their operation can, and should, be linked to the health of the individual.

That’s why you, and your members and players, should support the Personal Health Investment Today Act of 2011.

PHIT — pronounced, appropriately enough, “fit” — was first introduced into the House in 2009, then reintroduced last July with strong bipartisan support. The PHIT Act would change current federal tax law to allow for the deduction or use of pre-tax dollars to cover expenses related to sports, fitness and other physical activities.

It’s a simple concept, and one with which you’re probably familiar: If PHIT passes, Americans would be able to invest up to $2,000 a year before taxes to pay for physical activities by investing money in Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA), Medical Savings Accounts (MSA) and/or medical reimbursement arrangements.

The PHIT Act would not increase contribution limits to these accounts, but importantly, it would expand the types of expenses eligible for reimbursement to include physical activity costs as a form of prevention. (Once an individual or family spends 7.5% of their income on qualified medical expenses, they can deduct physical activity expenses directly.)

Right now, these types of medical spending accounts are set up to provide reimbursement for things like prescriptions and doctor’s appointments, but there’s no provision for preventive care. But with IHRSA reporting more than $76.6 billion spent on health care directly associated with inactivity, there’s absolutely no excuse for this.

For your business, what’s significant here is that PHIT will provide financial incentives for all Americans to lead more active and healthy lives — and that includes money they spend on tennis memberships, fees spent on programs like Cardio Tennis and league play, lessons, clinics and other fees associated with physical activity programs. Children’s programming, such as 10 and Under Tennis and other junior programs, also is eligible.

Contact your elected officials and show your support for PHIT. What could be simpler — and better for tennis — than an incentive to help people get healthy?



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