The new year is coming and with it many false promises of "going to the gym more."
Need a little extra incentive? What if you could get paid to go the gym? Now that's a game changer.
Working and money are beautiful in their own right, but together, well that's just amazing. It might be one of the best kept secrets and we have no idea why. Health Insurance are offering cash if program participate hit the gym!
Health Insurance Reimbursement for Gym Membership:
It's very exciting to see programs like this taking shape and becoming popular for major insurance providers. Insurance companies are offering in the neighborhood of $200 - $400 per year, for being a regular at the gym (about 3 times per week). Check with your health insurance provider for details. Check online or call them if need be. Not sure why billion dollar companies have websites that are near impossible to navigate but it happens.
Typically all you need to do is fill out a simple one page form in order to get paid for going to the gym. These programs are quickly evolving and becoming even easier to use. There are programs offering cash back every month deposited directly into your checking account! It might not make a dent if you belong to an club like Equinox, but for the rest of us peasants this is a great deal.
The programs are straightforward and simple. Visit the gym a certain number of times, usually around 12 times per month, log your visits, and get a signature from a health club employee. Bam! $400 dollars back in your wallet for being awesome.
My personal example:
I'm enrolled in an Oxford Health Plan from United Healthcare. There is a section in the online portal: Certification of Coverage, which has all the details of my plan. I download the PDF and searched for gym reimbursement. It took me about 3 minutes to find out that I can get $200 every six months for participating in this program.
All it takes is about 5 minutes of paperwork, twice a year, to get $400 dollars for doing something that you should be doing away. Going to the gym!
The healthcare community has a long way to go when it comes to preventative care, but we're glad to see baby steps in the right direction.
At this point you might be getting greedy and asking your self, where else can I get money for working out? What about on my taxes? Having a rock hard body is a business in itself, right? Sorry sugar, the IRS has no handouts for those foam rolling and running at 5 AM.
Gym Memberships are NOT Tax Deductible
We're not going to give up on this dream just yet, but for now you shouldn't be deducting your gym membership on your tax return. Actors and models might try some creative accounting with those expenses, but for rest of us. It's not a good idea.
The IRS publication, Medical and Dental Expenses, has a section for Health Club dues. If you're into a little light reading check it out here.
It clearly states that you can't deduct gym members in order to "improve one's general health or relieve physical or mental discomfort not related to a particular medical condition."
We won't help you with your noble pursuit of a healthy lifestyle, but if you mess up and get sick or injured, then we'll talk about helping you. Classic IRS...
So if a doctor diagnoses you with a medical condition and prescribes exercise as treatment, then these expenses might be tax deductible. The big caveat here is that if you're already a member of the gym, the deductions won't fly.
We're a long way from a world that embraces the benefits of being proactive and forward thinking with our health. Not only from a health and wellness perspective, but from a financial perspective. Health Insurance companies stand to reap the benefits, in the form of millions of dollars, by having fit and healthy program participates.
For now, we'll take what we can get. Dear insurance company, show me the money!
- DO - Particpiate in your Health Insurance Gym Reimbursement program
- DON'T - try and deduct your gym membership on your taxes