The PHIT Act: Moving on to the Senate!

 

The PHIT Act

            Recently passed by the House of Representatives with a vote of 277 to 142, the Personal Health Investment Today Act is set to move on to the Senate in the upcoming months. This historic progression will help increase participation in youth sports and increase physical activity in adults. The rate of obesity in 2017 reached astronomical numbers, the highest it has ever been. This bill will decrease this number and help America be healthy again.

            The new proposed health care act will allow you to set aside fax-free money in a heath savings account to pay for various physical activity expenses such as gym memberships, personal training and fitness classes, school sports fees, fitness equipment, sports league fees, event registration fees, etc. The National Heath Expenditure grew to 3.3 trillion dollars in 2016, or nearly $10,500 per person. The PHIT Act will help transform America’s healthcare industry from merely healing the sick to preventative care, which will drastically lower healthcare expenses.

 

Statistics

Lets assume each paycheck is taxed at 25%, if each individual sets aside the allowed 1,000 pre-tax dollars a year, they would save 250 dollars from tax. In 2016, approximately 75-80% of adults failed to meet all of the recommended physical activity guidelines. According to research supplementing the PHIT Act, if monetarily incentivized, 2 in 5 Americans would be more physically active. Obesity is on the rise in America, one goal of the PHIT Act is to increase physical activity and lower these rates. In 2017 the highest rate of obesity occurred in adults aged 40 to 59, nearly 40% of adults in this age range are obese3.

 

 

Effects on Corporate Wellness

Focusing on preventative wellness rather than sickness will drastically lower healthcare costs and increase employee engagement in corporate wellness programs. Cost is the number one reason American’s are inactive, with the PHIT Act, maintaining a heathy lifestyle is more financially attainable. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), employers expend 225.8 billion dollars a year due to absenteeism, or around $1,685 per employee. The top causes of employee absenteeism are stress, acute medical conditions, minor illness, injury, back pain, and mental health. Almost all instances of absenteeism are preventable if the employee exhibits a healthy lifestyle. Medical costs per individual could be reduced up to $103 if there is a 1% reduction in the individuals body weight, blood pressure, glucose, and cholesterol levels9. With the implementation of the PHIT Act, employers can see significant reductions in workers compensation claims, and insurance premiums. 

Seeing that regular exercise is directly associated with more productive, engaged employees, and higher rates of attendance, the PHIT Act and corporate wellness programs is particularly beneficial to employers. Corporate wellness programs give tools to implement a healthy lifestyle change by providing information specific to local gyms and fitness programs, a wellness portal to track wellbeing, and biometric screenings. The amalgamation of a corporate wellness program and the tax-free income used for approved activities will result in a massive boost in employee motivation and employee engagement.

 

References:

Image: https://www.webmd.com/lung/copd/ss/slideshow-copd-exercises

1 http://www.phitamerica.org/Leglislation/PHIT_Act.

2 https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th- congress/house-bill/1267/texthtm

3 https://public.tableau.com/profile/nhis#!/vizhome/FIGURE6_2/Dashboard6_2

4 https://www.shape.com/fitness/tips/phit-act-aims-make-fitness-more-affordable

5 https://www.acefitness.org/Advocacy/Advocacy-News-Article/87/6867/all-you-need-to-know-about-the-phit-act

6 https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/exercise.htm        

7 https://www.cdcfoundation.org/pr/2015/worker-illness-and-injury-costs-us-employers-225-billion-annually

8 https://advancesystems.ie/the-prevalence-of-employee-absenteeism-infographic/

9 https://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/resources/publications/aag/pdf/2015/aag-workplace-health.pdf



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