Topic Number 502 - Medical and Dental Expenses

If you itemize your deductions for a taxable year on Form 1040, Schedule A.pdf, Itemized Deductions, you may be able to deduct expenses you paid that year for medical and dental care for yourself, your spouse, and your dependents. You may deduct only the amount of your total medical expenses that exceed 7.5% of your adjusted gross income. You figure the amount you're allowed to deduct on Form 1040, Schedule A.

Medical care expenses include payments for the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease, or payments for treatments affecting any structure or function of the body.

Deductible medical expenses may include but aren't limited to the following:

  • Payments of fees to doctors, dentists, surgeons, chiropractors, psychiatrists, psychologists, and nontraditional medical practitioners
  • Payments for inpatient hospital care or residential nursing home care, if the availability of medical care is the principal reason for being in the nursing home, including the cost of meals and lodging charged by the hospital or nursing home. If the availability of medical care isn't the principal reason for residence in the nursing home, the deduction is limited to that part of the cost that's for medical care.
  • Payments for acupuncture treatments or inpatient treatment at a center for alcohol or drug addiction; or for participation in a smoking-cessation program and for drugs to alleviate nicotine withdrawal that require a prescription
  • Payments to participate in a weight-loss program for a specific disease or diseases diagnosed by a physician, including obesity, but not ordinarily payments for diet food items or the payment of health club dues
  • Payments for insulin and for drugs that require a prescription for its use by an individual
  • Payments made for admission and transportation to a medical conference relating to a chronic illness of you, your spouse, or your dependent (if the costs are primarily for and essential to necessary medical care). However, you may not deduct the costs for meals and lodging while attending the medical conference
  • Payments for false teeth, reading or prescription eyeglasses, contact lenses, hearing aids, crutches, wheelchairs, and for a guide dog or other service animal to assist a visually impaired or hearing disabled person, or a person with other physical disabilities
  • Payments for transportation primarily for and essential to medical care that qualify as medical expenses, such as payments of the actual fare for a taxi, bus, train, ambulance, or for transportation by personal car; the amount of your actual out-of-pocket expenses such as for gas and oil; or the amount of the standard mileage rate for medical expenses, plus the cost of tolls and parking
  • Payments for insurance premiums you paid for policies that cover medical care or for a qualified long-term care insurance policy covering qualified long-term care services. However, if you're an employee, don't include in medical expenses the portion of your premiums treated as paid by your employer. Employer-sponsored premiums paid under a premium conversion plan, cafeteria plan, or any other medical and dental expenses paid by the plan aren't deductible unless the premiums are included in box 1 of your Form W-2.pdf, Wage and Tax Statement. For example, if you're a federal employee participating in the premium conversion plan of the Federal Employee Health Benefits (FEHB) program, you may not include the premiums paid for the policy as a medical expense

 

If you're self-employed and have a net profit for the year, you may be eligible for the self-employed health insurance deduction. This is an adjustment to income, rather than an itemized deduction, for premiums you paid on a health insurance policy covering medical care, including a qualified long-term care insurance policy for yourself, your spouse, and dependents. The policy can also cover your child who is under the age of 27 at the end of 2018 even if the child wasn't your dependent. See Chapter 6 of Publication 535, Business Expenses for eligibility information. If you don't claim 100% of your paid premiums, you can include the remainder with your other medical expenses as an itemized deduction on Form 1040, Schedule A.pdf.

You may not deduct funeral or burial expenses, nonprescription medicines, toothpaste, toiletries, cosmetics, a trip or program for the general improvement of your health, or most cosmetic surgery. You may not deduct amounts paid for nicotine gum and nicotine patches that don't require a prescription.

You can only include the medical expenses you paid during the year. You must reduce your total deductible medical expenses for the year by any reimbursement of deductible medical expenses, and by expenses used when figuring other credits or deductions. This is true whether you receive the reimbursement directly or it's paid on your behalf to the doctor, hospital, or other medical provider.

To determine whether an expense is deductible, see Can I Deduct My Medical and Dental Expenses? For additional information on medical expenses, including who qualifies as your dependent for purposes of this deduction, how to figure, and how to report the deduction on your return, see Publication 502, Medical and Dental Expenses.