New state law lifts caps on health club membership costs

A new Illinois law regarding gym and health club memberships goes into effect as many people resolve to join gyms and spend more time working out.

A lawmaker who got a measure passed that becomes law Tuesday said his bill will help keep consumers from being nickel-and-dimed. An Illinois state law from the 1965 capped gym membership fees at $2,500 a year. In today’s dollars, that’s $20,000.

State Rep. Jaime Andrade, D-Chicago, said the cap was out of date. After talking with the industry, the Illinois Attorney General’s office, and legislators from both sides of the aisle, they decided to lift the cap entirely.

Andrade said that will mean health clubs will be more competitive in a free market.

“For the person that wants no yearly contract there’s monthly – they can do it” Andrade said. “But at the same time this bill will allow if a person wants to include day care, wants to include yoga, the free market will allow them.”

The measure was supported by the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association, and several other health club companies and groups.

“IHRSA supported the passage of a law eliminating a decades-old price cap on memberships that placed the industry and its ability to generate revenue at a disadvantage,” a statement on the IHRSA website stated.

Andrade said there may be a few clubs that charge more because the cap has been lifted.

“But at the same time, it’s better for the member because he can then get more services and not be nickel and dimed for everything,” Andrade said. “Can’t be charged for day care here, three hours there, everything can be included.”

“I believe the bill moves the state ahead in an environment that allows for competition and protects the consumer at the same time,” Andrade said.

By the numbers IHRSA estimates there are 1,346 health clubs in Illinois that cater to nearly 3 million residents. It says there are 55,000 employees with a total payroll of over $367 million dollars and $43 million in payroll taxes. The clubs generate $875 million in revenue. IHRSA also says 30.8 percent of Illinois adults are obese making it the 18th heaviest state in the nation.

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December 28, 2018 at 01:36PM

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