The Ultimate Guide to HSA Approved Exercise Equipment


Calley Means

Published Date:

January 31, 2024


Exercise is medicine. The American Heart Association recommends that adults exercise for at least 150 minutes a week, a goal that a shocking four in every five American adults fail to meet. It’s highly likely that you aren’t getting as much exercise as you need to return to health or maintain your health. 

Shouldn’t exercise-related expenses be covered by your HSA? The answer isn’t so simple. Here’s what you should know about HSA-approved exercise equipment and how to use your HSA funds for the things that matter most. 

What Are the Health Benefits of Exercise?

Regular exercise can dramatically reduce your risk of developing diseases like obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. These conditions often come with co-occurring conditions like chronic pain, joint health issues, and mobility issues. 

Maintaining a healthy body weight and properly conditioning your musculoskeletal system are two foundational imperatives for overall good health. Exercise is necessary for both objectives. 

Your doctor may have recommended increasing your daily exercise or adding more movement into your daily routine to address a health concern. If you have an HSA, you may be wondering how your HSA funds can work for you when you need to purchase something like exercise equipment or a gym membership to help you meet your health goals. 

How Does an HSA Work?

A health savings account (HSA) is a savings account specifically designated for healthcare-related expenses. The IRS allows you to deposit pre-tax money into a health savings account if you have a high-deductible insurance plan and have not contributed to an FSA (flexible spending account) in the same year. You can divert pre-tax money from your paycheck or exclude HSA contributions from your taxes as an independent contractor, sole proprietor, or small business owner. 

Many banks, credit unions, and insurance companies offer HSAs to their clients or policyholders. Many offer special interest rates on HSA accounts, and some offer debit cards linked directly to the HSA. 

You’ll keep proof of your purchases and submit them at the end of the year to justify tax-free spending on eligible expenses. If you’re unable to prove that all of the purchases you made with HSA funds were eligible, you may have to pay a tax penalty on the HSA funds that you spent. 

What Does an HSA Cover?

The IRS is in charge of HSA rules since an HSA is a way to make income exempt from taxes. The IRS has created a comprehensive list that details what types of purchases are HSA eligible. Things like copays for prescriptions and medical appointments are always covered, and many over-the-counter purchases are also covered.

HSA funds can be used to purchase medical supplies like diabetes testing equipment, canes, glasses, dentures, and contact lens care products. Over-the-counter medicines like pain relievers, antihistamines, anti-nausea medicine, heartburn medicine, and cold medicine are covered. Your HSA will also cover first aid supplies and wound care products.

Does an HSA Cover Exercise Equipment?

HSA guidelines don’t regard exercise equipment as a healthcare cost, even though many doctors would disagree that exercise isn’t a healthcare essential. Since things like exercise equipment fall into a gray area, the IRS created a provision that allows coverage to be extended for certain therapeutic products or services if a doctor formally states that such a purchase is a necessity for their patient.

If your doctor wants you to utilize a specific piece of exercise equipment, they can write you a Letter of Medical Necessity that will act as permission to bypass normal HSA eligibility and make your exercise equipment HSA reimbursable. 

What Is a Letter of Medical Necessity?

A Letter of Medical Necessity is a formal letter written by a healthcare provider who has evaluated you and diagnosed you with a specific condition. The letter will detail their recommended treatment for that condition, which includes a purchase that isn’t ordinarily covered by HSA funds. You’ll submit this letter to your HSA custodian as proof that the purchase you’re making with HSA funds should be rightfully covered.

Your Letter of Medical Necessity acts in conjunction with your receipt for the purchase to serve as a justification. You’ll need proof of purchase and a copy of the letter when tax time rolls around to show that your purchase was in accordance with guidelines.

What Qualifies as HSA-Approved Exercise Equipment?

HSA funds can be used (in conjunction with a Letter of Medical Necessity) to cover anything that could reasonably be considered exercise or strength training equipment. This would include weights, a weight bench, and cardiovascular exercise equipment like ellipticals, treadmills, and exercise bikes. 

HSA won’t approve something like having a pool constructed in your home for water aerobics or any purchases that would clearly be considered sports equipment (like a basketball hoop or a soccer net) rather than traditional exercise equipment. 

Physical therapy devices also qualify as HSA-approved exercise equipment. If your physical therapist recommends a specific device, 

Does an HSA Cover a Gym Membership?

If you don’t have a lot of space in your home or you don’t have a budget that would accommodate purchasing your own exercise equipment, a gym membership is a convenient alternative. You’re able to exercise as often as you want and utilize dozens of different pieces of equipment without having to commit to buying, maintaining, or storing machines.

A Letter of Medical Necessity will also provide justification for purchasing a gym membership if exercising outside of your home is a better option for you. HSA funds can’t be used to cover personal training or consultation services offered by your gym, but there may be a workaround. 

Some gyms, like CrossFit Gym, incorporate coaching services into the cost of your membership. If you’d feel better with personalized guidance from a fitness expert, choose a gym that offers similar attention to patrons. A little extra help can make it easier to begin an exercise routine tailored to your unique needs.

Can You Use HSA Funds for Wellness Trackers?

It can be difficult to track your movement level and progress toward your wellness goals without a wellness-tracking device. Wellness trackers can give you data about your heart rate and the amount of steps you’ve taken, helping you to meet your doctor’s recommendations for cardiovascular activity. 

Your doctor may be able to write you a Letter of Medical Necessity for wellness technology if they believe that a tracker will help you efficiently reach your goal. Your doctor may also appreciate the information and statistics from your wellness tracking device, as it can easily be used to determine your progress and the efficacy of your exercise regimen. Ask your doctor during your consultation if a wellness tracker could be a medical necessity for you.

How To Buy HSA-Approved Exercise Equipment

Once you’re approved to purchase HSA-approved exercise equipment, there are two ways to make your purchase. The first is through reimbursement, which can be complicated. The second is through direct HSA payment, where it’s available.

Obtain Your Letter of Medical Necessity

You can obtain a Letter of Medical Necessity from your doctor at your next appointment. If you don’t want to wait (or can’t wait several months to be seen), Truemed’s simple medical evaluation process can help eligible people obtain a Letter of Medical Necessity quickly and easily. The survey-style evaluation only takes a few minutes to complete, and the reasonable evaluation fee is completely covered by HSA funds as a medical visit. 

Utilize Reimbursement

Many exercise equipment providers don’t offer HSA/FSA as a form of payment. If you don’t have the option to purchase equipment directly with your HSA debit card, you’ll need to purchase HSA-approved exercise equipment with your own personal funds and use your HSA account to reimburse yourself for the amount on your receipt or invoice. 

There is no timeframe for reimbursement. You’re allowed to reimburse yourself whenever you’d like, as long as you maintain an active HSA in good standing before and after you’ve made the purchase. 

Utilize HSA Payment

Truemed partners with leading exercise equipment brands like Peloton and DoubleUP to make it easy to purchase the exercise equipment you need with HSA funds. 

Just choose Pay With Truemed at checkout with one of our merchants and enter your HSA payment details. You’ll be asked a few questions and matched with a medical professional to determine your eligibility. If you’re eligible, you’ll get a Letter of Medical Necessity that you can use to complete your purchase. Shop Truemed fitness partners here

Truemed Makes Wellness Easy

Our philosophy is simple. The choices you make, from the foods you eat to the amount of exercise you work into your daily routine, are medicine. We work with leading retailers to make it easy for you to take control of your own health and wellness. Truemed can help you obtain a Letter of Medical Necessity and quickly, easily, and securely make an HSA-approved purchase. 


American Heart Association Recommendations for Physical Activity in Adults and Kids | American Heart Association

Physical Activity Helps Prevent Chronic Diseases | CDC

2023 HSA Eligible Expense List | Cone Health

Frequently asked questions about medical expenses related to nutrition, wellness, and general health | Internal Revenue Service

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