IRS Offers a "Fat" Chance

January 2, 2001 ( - The IRS says that participants in employer-sponsored medical savings accounts and flexible spending accounts may include obesity treatments for weight loss as a medical expense in 2001.

The new policy appears in IRS Publication 502. Treatments covered by the new policy include:

  • physician-prescribed behavioral counseling
  • nutritional counseling
  • pharmacology
  • surgery

However, health club dues, over-the-counter products and nutritional supplements are not covered.

According to the American Obesity Association (AOA), 26% of Americans are obese, resulting in $100 billion in health care treatment costs per year.

The AOA petitioned the IRS to include the treatments.

A guide to the new policy is available on the AOA site .