A laptop computer's screen displays several graphs and pie charts that list a family's annual medical expense deductions.
Home > Healthcare 101 > Medical expense deductions in 2018: What’s fair game?

Medical expense deductions in 2018: What’s fair game?

Tax day, April 17, is quickly approaching. Have you filed your taxes yet? Here you’ll find a handy list of tax-deductible medical expenses, along with a way to see if you meet the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) requirements for medical expense deductions.

Can I deduct my medical expenses?

Your medical expense deductions will need to add up to 7.5% of your adjusted gross income (AGI). This changed from 10% in 2017. Remember, this includes expenses for your spouse and your dependents!


What counts as a medical expense?

 Doctors and specialists
Payments or fees for visits to primary care doctors and specialists.

 Doctors, dentists, and eye doctors
 Surgeons
 Acupuncturists, chiropractors, physical therapists, and occupational therapists
 Podiatrists
 Psychiatrists and psychologists

  Transportation
Expenses to get to and from a medical service or appointment. You can deduct 17 cents per mile for gas!

 Taxi, bus, train, and other public transportation
 Ambulance
 Personal car
 Parking and tolls

  Capital expenses
Equipment or improvements to your home, if their main purpose is to provide medical assistance for you, your spouse, or your dependent.

 Installing railing or support bars in the bathroom
 Modifying fire alarms and smoke detectors
 Modifying stairways
 Adding handrails or grab bars anywhere
 Lead-based paint removal

  Equipment, supplies, and devices
Equipment, supplies, or devices related to medical care for you, your spouse, or your dependent.

 Reading or prescription eyeglasses and contact lenses
 Hearing aids
 False teeth
 Crutches and wheelchairs
 Breast pumps
 Blood sugar test kit

  Procedures
Procedures, if performed to prevent disease or if they assist with having children.

 Dental procedures to prevent dental disease (e.g., sealants, fluoride treatments, X-rays, braces, extraction)
 Vasectomy
 Cataract Surgery
 Fertility enhancements, if you have trouble having children

  Recovery programs
Recovery programs for alcohol or drug addiction, smoking, or weight loss for specific diseases.

 Acupuncture (if used for recovery)
 Inpatient treatment for alcohol or drug addiction
 Participation in smoking cessation program
 Weight-loss programs for specific diseases (as diagnosed by a physician), including obesity

  Medicines
Medications that require a prescription.

 Medicines that require a prescription, like insulin or birth control pills

What can’t I deduct?

Keep in mind that you cannot deduct certain items. Over-the-counter drugs (like Advil or Tylenol for a cold) and cosmetic surgeries do not make the list.

Unfortunately, you also cannot deduct medical expenses “that have been paid using pre-tax money from an FSA or HSA.” That would be a double tax benefit, and it is not allowed by the IRS.

Please note: This is not a complete list of approved medical expense deductions. Click here for the IRS’s full list.

Castlight makes itemizing healthcare expenses quick and easy, with bank-account views of your claims. Log in to see your statement for 2017!

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