Tax Guide

Get answers to all your questions about taxes, personal finance, insurance and more.

What Medical Expenses are Deductible?

One of the first steps in deducting your medical expenses is figuring out which expenses are deductible. Expenses like medical supplies, eyeglasses, and hospital services can be deductible. And some expenses must meet certain requirements to be deductible.

Let’s look at what can and can’t be deducted.

Deductible Expenses

Here’s a partial list of deductible expenses:

  • Equipment and supplies – You may deduct any expenses relating to back supports, crutches, and wheelchairs, to name a few items. Artificial limbs and eyes may be deducted. If you have impaired hearing, you may deduct hearing aids. Buying a wig may be deductible if it’s advised by a doctor for a patient’s mental health.
  • Dental services – Dental x-rays are considered preventive health measures and can be deducted. Other preventive health measures such as teeth cleanings, pulling teeth and applying crowns are deductible. More serious dental services like braces, oral surgery, and even dentures are deductible.
  • Professional services – Professional services covers the costs of specialists such as dermatologists, neurologists and OB/GYNs. Chiropractors also qualify, as do licensed psychologists and psychiatrists.
  • Medical treatments and laboratory tests – Childbirth and prenatal medical treatments are deductible, including childbirth classes. Lab tests, such as blood and metabolism tests and urine analysis, are deductible.
  • Nursing services – Nursing services are deductible but can be a bit tricky. You may deduct any nursing services you’re not reimbursed for, and the service doesn’t have to be provided by a licensed nurse. If you hire someone who performs nursing services – licensed or not – you may deduct those wages as a medical expense.
  • Hospital services – Besides general hospital services, including meals if you’re receiving inpatient care, you can deduct other services. You can deduct any service by an anesthetist or any fees for using the operating room.
  • Insurance premiums – If you pay for your own insurance, you’re eligible to deduct any premiums you pay. You can also deduct any premiums for Medicare A – if Social Security doesn’t pay for it – and Medicare Part B and D.
  • Home renovation – If you renovate your home because of a medical condition or disease, you may be eligible to deduct construction, installation or maintenance costs. See Home Renovations as Medical Expense.
  • Travel and lodging – Mileage for traveling to see a doctor or specialist is deductible. You may also deduct airfare if required to see a doctor outside of your area. If you attend a medical conference for a condition that you or a dependent has, you may be eligible to deduct any registration fees for the conference. Staying at a hotel or motel while receiving outpatient medical treatment is deductible if the primary reason for the visit is for medical care. The deduction is $50 per night per person.

Nondeductible Expenses

These medical expenses are not deductible:

  • Certain expenses for children – If your baby is healthy, you can’t deduct babysitting fees, even if the babysitting allows you or your spouse to receive medical treatment. Maternity clothes are also not deductible. If You or your child take dance or swim lessons to improve overall mental and physical wellbeing, you can’t deduct the cost of lessons and transportation.
  • Cosmetic surgery and services – Any procedure that is deemed cosmetic is not deductible. This includes breast augmentations, liposuctions and “tummy tucks.” Both in office and at-home teeth whitening products and services are cosmetic and not deductible.
  • Memberships – Memberships and dues to gyms, health clubs and other health programs are not deductible. If you join a weight loss program not prescribed by a physician, you can’t deduct registration or membership fees.