Only certain medical and dental expenses are eligible for the medical expense deduction. Deductible medical expenses generally include costs and payments for medically necessary care and services, such as preventative care, treatment, surgeries, and dental and vision care.
Common expenses that are deductible are prescription medications, eyeglasses, contacts, hearing aids, insulin, etc. You can also deduct unreimbursed expenses for visits to psychologists and psychiatrists. You might also be able to deduct premiums for health insurance, as long as you paid them with pretax money.
IRS Permitted Medical Deductions
For a full list of IRS permitted medical deductions, consult IRS Publication 502. For quick reference, here are some of the most common medical expenses that can be deducted.
- Payments to doctors, dentists, surgeons, dentists, psychiatrists, and other medical practitioners for qualified expenses
- X-rays and laboratory services
- Prescription medicines or insulin
- Hospital and nursing home care
- Diagnostic tests
- Addiction and weight loss programs
- Transportation costs to and from medical care
- Dentures, reading or prescription eyeglasses, contacts, hearing aids, crutches, wheelchairs, and service animals
- Insurance premiums for medical care or long-term care insurance if they’re not paid by your employer, and you pay out of pocket after taxes
Which Expenses Can’t be Deducted?
Here are some examples of ineligible medical expenses.
- Funeral or burial expenses
- Over-the-counter medicines
- Insurance premiums or other expenses paid by an employer-sponsored health insurance plan
- Toothpaste, toiletries, and cosmetics
- Cosmetic surgery (unless it’s necessary to improve a deformity, a personal injury resulting from an accident, or a disfiguring disease)
- Nicotine gum and patches that don’t require a prescription