Use Table 21-1 below, as a guide to determine which medical and dental expenses you can include on Schedule A (Form 1040).
This table does not include all possible medical expenses. To determine if an expense not listed can be included in figuring your medical expense deduction, see What Are Medical Expenses
You can include in medical expenses insurance premiums you pay for policies that cover medical care. Medical care policies can provide payment for treatment that includes:
- Hospitalization, surgical services, X-rays,
- Prescription drugs and insulin,
- Dental Care,
- Replacement of lost or damaged contact lenses, or
- Long-term care (subject to additional limitations). See Qualified Long-term Care Insurance Contracts in Publication 502.
If you have a policy that provides payments for other than medical care, you can include the premiums for the medical care part of the policy if the charge for the medical part is reasonable. The cost of the medical part must be separately stated in the insurance contract or given to you in a separate statement.
When figuring the amount of insurance premiums you can include in medical expenses on Schedule A, do not include any health coverage tax credit advance payments shown in box 1 of Form 1099-H, Health Coverage Tax Credit (HCTC) Advance Payments.
Do not include in your medical and dental expenses any insurance premiums paid by an employer-sponsored health insurance plan unless the premiums are included in box 1 of your Form W-2. Also, do not include any other medical and dental expenses paid by the plan unless the amount paid is included in box 1 of your Form W-2. taxmap/pub17/p17-110.htm#en_us_publink100033902
You are a federal employee participating in the premium conversion plan of the Federal Employee Health Benefits (FEHB) program. Your share of the FEHB premium is paid by making a pre-tax reduction in your salary. Because you are an employee whose insurance premiums are paid with money that is never included in your gross income, you cannot deduct the premiums paid with that money.taxmap/pub17/p17-110.htm#en_us_publink100033903
Contributions made by your employer to provide coverage for qualified long-term care services under a flexible spending or similar arrangement must be included in your income. This amount will be reported as wages in box 1 of your Form W-2. taxmap/pub17/p17-110.htm#en_us_publink100033904
If you have medical expenses that are reimbursed by a health reimbursement arrangement, you cannot include those expenses in your medical expenses. This is because an HRA is funded solely by the employer.taxmap/pub17/p17-110.htm#en_us_publink100033905
If you are a retired public safety officer, do not include as medical expenses any health or long-term care premiums that you elect to have paid with tax-free distributions from your retirement plan. This applies only to distributions that would otherwise be included in income.taxmap/pub17/p17-110.htm#en_us_publink100033906
If you are covered under social security (or if you are a government employee who paid Medicare tax), you are enrolled in Medicare A. The payroll tax paid for Medicare A is not a medical expense. If you are not covered under social security (or were not a government employee who paid Medicare tax), you can voluntarily enroll in Medicare A. In this situation you can include the premiums you paid for Medicare A as a medical expense. taxmap/pub17/p17-110.htm#en_us_publink100033907
Medicare B is supplemental medical insurance. Premiums you pay for Medicare B are a medical expense. If you applied for it at age 65 or after you became disabled, you can include in medical expenses the monthly premiums you paid. Check the information you received from the Social Security Administration to find out your premium. taxmap/pub17/p17-110.htm#en_us_publink100033908
Medicare D is a voluntary prescription drug insurance program for persons with Medicare A or B. You can include as a medical expense premiums you pay for Medicare D.taxmap/pub17/p17-110.htm#en_us_publink100033909
Premiums you pay before you are age 65 for insurance for medical care for yourself, your spouse, or your dependents after you reach age 65 are medical care expenses in the year paid if they are:
- Payable in equal yearly installments, or more often, and
- Payable for at least 10 years, or until you reach age 65 (but not for less than 5 years).
You must include in gross income cash payments you receive at the time of retirement for unused sick leave. You also must include in gross income the value of unused sick leave that, at your option, your employer applies to the cost of your continuing participation in your employer's health plan after you retire. You can include this cost of continuing participation in the health plan as a medical expense.
If you participate in a health plan where your employer automatically applies the value of unused sick leave to the cost of your continuing participation in the health plan (and you do not have the option to receive cash), do not include the value of the unused sick leave in gross income. You cannot include this cost of continuing participation in that health plan as a medical expense.
Table 21-1. Medical and Dental Expenses Checklist See Publication 502 for more information for these and other expenses.
|You can include:||You cannot include:|
- Birth control pills prescribed by your doctor
- Body scan
- Capital expenses for equipment or improvements to your home needed for medical care (see the worksheet in Publication 502)
- Diagnostic devices
- Expenses of an organ donor
- Eye surgery—to promote the correct function of the eye
- Fertility enhancement, certain procedures
- Guide dogs or other animals aiding the blind, deaf, and disabled
- Hospital services fees (lab work, therapy, nursing services, surgery, etc.)
- Lead-based paint removal
- Legal abortion
- Legal operation to prevent having children such as a vasectomy or tubal ligation
- Long-term care contracts, qualified
- Meals and lodging provided by a hospital during medical treatment
- Medical services fees (from doctors, dentists, surgeons, specialists, and other medical practitioners)
- Medicare Part D premiums
- Medical and hospital insurance premiums
- Oxygen equipment and oxygen
- Part of life-care fee paid to retirement home designated for medical care
- Physical examination
- Pregnancy test kit
- Prescription medicines (prescribed by a doctor) and insulin
- Psychiatric and psychological treatment
- Social security tax, Medicare tax, FUTA, and state employment tax for worker providing medical care (see Wages for nursing services, below)
- Special items (artificial limbs, false teeth, eye-glasses, contact lenses, hearing aids, crutches, wheelchair, etc.)
- Special education for mentally or physically disabled persons
- Stop-smoking programs
- Transportation for needed medical care
- Treatment at a drug or alcohol center (includes meals and lodging provided by the center)
- Wages for nursing services
- Weight-loss, certain expenses for obesity
- Baby sitting and childcare
- Bottled water
- Contributions to Archer MSAs (see Publication 969)
- Diaper service
- 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 (if contributions were on a pre-tax basis)
- Funeral, burial, or cremation expenses
- Health savings account payments for medical expenses
- Illegal operation or treatment
- Life insurance or income protection policies, or policies providing payment for loss of life, limb, sight, etc.
- 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, in most cases
- Nutritional supplements, vitamins, herbal supplements, "natural medicines," etc., unless recommended by a medical practitioner as a treatment for a specific medical condition diagnosed by a physician
- Surgery for purely cosmetic reasons
- Toothpaste, toiletries, cosmetics, etc.
- Teeth whitening
- Weight-loss expenses not for the treatment of obesity or other disease
You can include in medical expenses the cost of meals and lodging at a hospital or similar institution if a principal reason for being there is to get medical care. See Nursing home,
You may be able to include in medical expenses the cost of lodging not provided in a hospital or similar institution. You can include the cost of such lodging while away from home if all of the following requirements are met.
- The lodging is primarily for and essential to medical care.
- The medical care is provided by a doctor in a licensed hospital or in a medical care facility related to, or the equivalent of, a licensed hospital.
- The lodging is not lavish or extravagant under the circumstances.
- There is no significant element of personal pleasure, recreation, or vacation in the travel away from home.
The amount you include in medical expenses for lodging cannot be more than $50 for each night for each person. You can include lodging for a person traveling with the person receiving the medical care. For example, if a parent is traveling with a sick child, up to $100 per night can be included as a medical expense for lodging. Meals are not included.
You can include in medical expenses the cost of medical care in a nursing home, home for the aged, or similar institution, for yourself, your spouse, or your dependents. This includes the cost of meals and lodging in the home if a principal reason for being there is to get medical care.
Do not include the cost of meals and lodging if the reason for being in the home is personal. You can, however, include in medical expenses the part of the cost that is for medical or nursing care. taxmap/pub17/p17-110.htm#en_us_publink100049890
You can include in medical expenses the amount you pay for an annual physical examination and diagnostic test by a physician. You do not have to be ill at the time of the examination.taxmap/pub17/p17-110.htm#en_us_publink100033913
You can include in medical expenses amounts paid for transportation primarily for, and essential to, medical care. taxmap/pub17/p17-110.htm#en_us_publink100033914
- Bus, taxi, train, or plane fares, or ambulance service,
- Transportation expenses of a parent who must go with a child who needs medical care,
- Transportation expenses of a nurse or other person who can give injections, medications, or other treatment required by a patient who is traveling to get medical care and is unable to travel alone, and
- Transportation expenses for regular visits to see a mentally ill dependent, if these visits are recommended as a part of treatment.
You can include out-of-pocket expenses, such as the cost of gas and oil, when you use your car for medical reasons. You cannot include depreciation, insurance, general repair, or maintenance expenses.
If you do not want to use your actual expenses for 2008, you can use a standard rate of 19 cents a mile for use of a car for medical reasons from January 1–June 30. Use the rate of 27 cents a mile for miles driven from July 1–December 31, for medical reasons.
You can also include parking fees and tolls. You can add these fees and tolls to your medical expenses whether you use actual expenses or use the standard mileage rate. taxmap/pub17/p17-110.htm#en_us_publink100033916
Bill Jones drove 2,800 miles for medical reasons during the year. Bill drove 1,000 from January 1–June 30 and 1,800 miles from July 1–December 31. He spent $400 for gas, $30 for oil, and $100 for tolls and parking. He wants to figure the amount he can include in medical expenses both ways to see which gives him the greater deduction.
He figures the actual expenses first. He adds the $400 for gas, the $30 for oil, and the $100 for tolls and parking for a total of $530.
He then figures the standard mileage amount. He multiplies the 1,000 miles by 19 cents a mile and 1,800 miles by 27 cents a mile for a total of $676. He then adds the $100 in tolls and parking for a total of $776.
Bill includes the $776 of car expenses with his other medical expenses for the year because the $776 is more than the $530 he figured using actual expenses.taxmap/pub17/p17-110.htm#en_us_publink100033917
You cannot include in medical expenses the cost of transportation expenses in the following situations.
- Going to and from work, even if your condition requires an unusual means of transportation.
- Travel for purely personal reasons to another city for an operation or other medical care.
- Travel that is merely for the general improvement of one's health.
- The costs of operating a specially equipped car for other than medical reasons.
Some disabled dependent care expenses may qualify as either:
- Medical expenses or
- Work-related expenses for purposes of taking a credit for dependent care. (See chapter 32.)
You can choose to apply them either way as long as you do not use the same expenses to claim both a credit and a medical expense deduction.