Can you claim a tax deduction for medical expenses?

Did you accumulate a lot of credit card debts last year for paying your medical expenses? You are not alone; many Americans are falling into debt trouble due to uncontrollable medical bills.

Why are people falling into medical debt?

First of all medical costs are rising sky high and deliberately taking the toll on a personal budget. Secondly, if the medical issues arise urgently, people are falling behind to manage the cost properly. In most cases, people use their credit cards to pay for the unforeseen emergencies that are not covered by their insurance policies.
This is not the end, for most of the people, medical expenses are now becoming out of affordability
Even many people believe that medical issues are a part of life so does the medical debt. However, every problem has a solution.

You can claim a tax deduction for medical expenses. However, there is many ifs and buts. To know them in details, read the article.

The IRS allows taxpayers to get a partial tax deduction on their medical expenses. So, if you spent quite a big chunk on your medical issues last year, you may able to lower your tax bill and save some money.

Eligibility criteria for medical tax deduction

You might be able to get a tax deduction for your medical expenses, but, the medical bills have to exceed a high threshold to get the eligibility for the tax deduction.

  1. 1 Your medical costs should exceed 10% of your adjusted gross income (AGI).
  2. 2 If the taxpayer's age is 65 and above, then the 7.5% threshold should be applied. It means, if your age is 65 or more, you can get tax deduction even if your medical cost exceeds 7.5% of your AGI.

Which medical expenses are deductible?

The IRS gives a list of allowable expenses that are tax deductible. So, make sure the medical expenses that you are going to mention are "qualifying ones".
Look at the list of medical expenses that are qualified by the IRS.

  • Hospital services
  • Lab fees
  • Lead-based paint removal
  • Legal fees related to healthcare
  • Long-term care
  • Medical conferences
  • Nursing homes
  • Nursing services
  • Osteopaths
  • Oxygen
  • Pregnancy test kits
  • Prostheses
  • Psychiatric care
  • Psychological counseling
  • Service animals
  • Smoking cessation programs
  • Special education
  • Sterilization
  • Surgeries
  • Therapies
  • Transplants
  • Weight loss programs
  • Wheelchairs
  • Wigs
  • X-rays
  • Acupuncture
  • Alcoholism treatment
  • Ambulance
  • Annual physical exam
  • Artificial limbs
  • Artificial teeth
  • Bandages
  • Birth control pills
  • Body scans
  • Braille reading materials
  • Breast pumps and supplies
  • Breast reconstruction surgery
  • Chiropractor
  • Contact lenses
  • Crutches
  • Dental treatment
  • Diagnostic devices
  • Drug addiction treatment
  • Drugs
  • Eye exams and eyeglasses
  • Eye surgery
  • Fertility treatments
  • Hearing aids
  • Home care services
  • Home improvements

These deductions are used when filling out the itemized deduction schedule - Schedule A (Form 1040). However, you will get the complete list of medical expenses that are allowable here - IRS Publication 502.

Caution- Not all expenses that are related to medical are deductible. Some medical expenses are known as non-qualifying medical expenses that you should be aware of.


  1. 1 Once you get reimbursement, you are not allowed to include those medical expenses for deduction.
    If you were paid back for the particular medical issues, then you can't claim a tax deduction for that expense.
  2. 2 Some expenses for children are nondeductible expenses. If your baby is healthy, the babysitting cost is not allowed to get a deduction.
    If your child takes admission for a dance or a swimming class for overall mental and physical growth, then you can’t get deduction for the cost.
    Also, if you spend a lot on the maternity clothes, you are not allowed to include the expenses for the deduction.
  3. 3 Any cosmetic surgery like breast augmentations, liposuctions and “tummy tucks", in office and at-home teeth whitening products and services, are not allowed for tax deduction.
  4. 4 Membership cost (gyms, health clubs, and other health programs) is not deductible.

Here is a short list of medical expenses that are not qualified for a tax deduction.

  • Any illegal treatments or substances
  • Nutritional supplements
  • Toothpaste and other toiletries
  • Nonprescription drugs, such as aspirin
  • Nicotine patches or gum
  • Funeral expenses
  • Most cosmetic surgery
  • Cosmetics
  • Activities your doctor recommends to improve your general health, such as a vacation or dancing lessons.

Whose medical expense should you count?

You should also be aware of the fact that not everyone's medical expenses will be entertained. You can get your medical and dental, your spouse and your dependents’ medical bill deduction.

You may be able to consider some expenses you paid for your parents as well.

Also, you can get a medical tax deduction for the bills you paid for a deceased dependent.

So, lastly, I would like to suggest you that once you know the bills that you have paid can get a tax deduction, don't forget to claim. By doing so, you can save a lot of money that can be used for other significant expenses.

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