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Can You Give Me Comprehensive List of Medical and Dental Deductible Expenses?

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Medical expenses include all the costs of disease prevention, treatment, mitigation, cure and diagnosis. Basically the cost of treating any body part or function is deductible. If you have to purchase medical equipment, supplies or diagnostic devices for your treatment those are deductible as well.  Medical expense deductions include dental expenses.  Medical and dental expenses can only be deducted if they are spent of preventing or alleviating mental or physical illness or defect. You cannot deduct expenses that you had for general health practices, things that are just beneficial to your health i.e. vitamins, food supplements or even vacations… Premiums paid for health insurance are deductible. You can deduct mileage to and from medical care.

Here is a more or less comprehensive list of medical expenses that are deductible:

  • Abortion
  • Acupuncture
  • Ambulance
  • Artificial Limbs
  • Artificial Teeth
  • Bandages
  • Birth Control Pills prescribed by the doctor
  • Breast reconstruction surgery
  • Chiropractor
  • Christian science practitioner
  • Contact Lenses
  • Cost and care of guide dogs or other animals
  • Cost of Vasectomy
  • Expenses of an organ donor
  • Eye glasses
  • Eye surgery
  • Fertility enhancement
  • Guide dog or other animal
  • Health institute
  • Health maintenance organization (HMO)
  • Hearing aids
  • Home care
  • Hospital services fees (lab, therapy, nursing, surgery)
  • Lab Fees
  • Medical and hospital insurance premiums
  • Medical Information plan
  • Medicare A-if voluntarily enrolled
  • Medicare B
  • Medicare D
  • Medicines
  • Nursing Home
  • Nursing Services
  • Prescription medicines and insulin
  • Psychiatric care
  • Psychologist
  • Stop-smoking programs
  • Therapy
  • Transplants
  • Transportation for needed medical care
  • Vasectomy
  • Vision correction surgery
  • Wages for nursing services
  • Weight loss program if treatment is for a specific disease
  • Wig for the mental health of a patient who has lost all of his or her hair from disease
  • Wheelchair

Here is a list of Nondeductible medical expenses

  • Contributions to ARCHER MSAs
  • Controlled Substances ( marijuana , etc)
  • Cosmetic Surgery
  • Electrolysis or hair removal
  • Expenses for your general health ( even if following your doctor’s advice) such as-
    • Health Club dues
    • Household help ( even if recommended by a doctor)
    • Social activities, such as dancing or swimming lessons
    • Trip for general health improvement
  • Flexible spending account reimbursements for medical expenses
  • Health savings account payments for medical expenses
  • Illegal operation, treatment, or controlled substance
  • Maternity clothes
  • Medical Insurance included in a car insurance policy covering all persons injured in or by your car
  •  Medicine you buy without a prescription
  • Nursing care for a healthy baby
  • Prescription drugs you brought in (or ordered shipped) from another country
  • Nutritional supplements, vitamins, herbal supplements
  • Surgery for purely cosmetic reasons
  • Weight – loss expenses if the purpose is the improvement of appearance, general health, or well-being

You deduct the medical expenses the year they were paid. It doesn’t matter when the medical services were provided to you.  If you happen to pay with a check, the day you mail the check is they day when you are considered to have paid the medical bill. If you happen to pay your medical bill over the phone or on the internet, the date showing on your bank statement is the date that you can use to determine when to deduct that medical expense.

Here is the thing; historically total sum of our medical expenses that has exceeded 7.5% of our Adjusted Gross Income has been deducted on schedule A. But now, starting form 2013, in our unified efforts in helping to support ObamaCare, the threshold had been raised to 10%!!!(if you’re under 65) So for example, if your AGI (adjusted gross income) is $10,000 and your medical expenses were $1,150 you get to deduct $400 from your 2012 tax return ($1,150-$750=$400) and only $150 in 2013 ($1150-$1000=$150)

Obviously you cannot deduct expenses that were reimbursed to you by your Health Insurance Company or Medicare.

Transportation necessary for medical care includes:

  • Bus, Taxi, train, air plane fares or ambulance charges
  • Transportation cost of parents who must go with a child in need of medical care
  • If the patient has to travel to get to the medical care facility and needs a nurse or other person that is able to give him/her injections or other type of treatment, the cost of travel of that other person is fully deductible
  •  Transportation expenses for regularly made trips to see a mentally ill patient are deductible if they are recommended by a doctor as a part of a treatment
  • Gas and oil expenses are deductible on personal vehicles when used for the portion that was used for medical care visits; alternatively there is a standard mileage rate specifically for medical care patients. Since the standard mileage rate changes each year, I will not include it in this article; it is more accurate if you Google it.

The following types of expenses are NOT deductible medical expenses:

  • Life insurance policies
  • Policies for loss of earning
  • Policies for loss of limb, sight, or life
  • The part of your car insurance coverage (med pay) that provides medical coverage in case you have a car accident
  • Long term care insurance or health insurance if you chose to have those premiums paid from tax free distributions from your retirement plan made directly to your insurance provider and these payments would otherwise be included in your income.  So no two bites of the same apple basically.

One thing worth mentioning I think is you see sometimes Medicare tax as a payroll tax taken out of your paycheck… That’s not a medical expense.

Medicare A

If you are covered by Social Security then you are considered enrolled in Medicare A.  You can also enroll voluntarily in Medicare A. If you elect to enroll in Medicare A, then the premiums paid are deductible medical expense.

Medicare B

Medicare B is a supplemental medical insurance and the premiums are deductible. You can deduct the premiums if you applied for it when you were 65 or older or after you became disabled.

Medicare D

Medicare D is prescription drug insurance for persons who already have Medicare part A or B and premiums are fully deductible.

Qualified long term care services

Are for persons that are chronically ill. It should cover services that are of treating, mitigating, therapeutic, preventive, and diagnostic nature and are also: Required by an individual that is chronically ill AND is provided pursuant to a plan of care created specifically by a licensed health care practitioner


Qualified long term insurance contracts are insurance contracts that provide coverage of qualified long term care services and they must:

  • Not provide for a cash surrender value
  • Be guaranteed renewable
  • Not pay for expenses that would be covered by Medicare. It is ok if Medicare is a secondary payer or the contract makes per diem or other periodic payments without regard to expenses.
  • Provide that refunds, other than refunds on the death of insured or complete surrender or cancellation of the contract, and dividends under the contract must be used only to reduce future premiums or increase future benefits

Dependent’s medical expense

For you to be able to deduct expenses for your dependent, he/she must have been your dependent at the time the medical services were either paid or provided. A person will qualify to be considered your dependent for medical purposes if both of the following conditions are met:

  • The person was a qualifying child or a qualifying relative
  • The person was a US citizen or a resident

Written by David Ghazaryan

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