What Are Deductible Medical Expenses?

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  • Written By: Esther Ejim
  • Edited By: Kaci Lane Hindman
  • Last Modified Date: 05 December 2019
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Deductible medical expenses is a term that is used to describe the sort of health-related expenses that may be legally deducted by a tax payer during a tax year. Not all types of medical expenses are deductible, and the ones that are allowed are clearly spelled out by the provisions in the tax forms. For instance, some types of purely cosmetic surgery are usually not included in the calculations of deductible medical expenses. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) provides the types of allowable deductible medical expenses in the United States, which are usually centered on the expenses for mental or physical health-related costs.

The purpose for allowing the deductions of health-related expenses is mainly to help those who have received such treatment to offset the cost of the treatment. When the high cost of medical treatment is considered it is easy to see the value of this deduction. An example of allowable deductible medical expenses includes the money spent on the treatment of a psychiatric or mental disorder. The definition for this type of disorder includes ailments like severe depression, schizophrenia and other mental health problems. Even the money spent on the purchase of prescription drugs may be deducted from the total tax.


Treatments by doctors and other health professionals like chiropractors, orthopedic surgeons and podiatrists may be subtracted from the tax payments. Such treatments may include operations like appendicitis, cavity treatments, and other types of surgeries like bunion surgery. It also includes the money spent on payments for nursing care for categories of people who include the disabled, the terminally ill and the elderly. Even people with substance abuse problems may deduct the money that they spent at rehabilitation centers, including people with smoking addictions and alcohol problems.

Another category of expenses included in the deductible medical expenses is the money that the individuals or tax payers spend on transportation to the medical facilities. The money that is spent on transportation may include the actual amount spent on bus fares or other forms of transportation, or it may include the amount that is spent on the purchase of gas for the vehicle in order to facilitate the trip to the medical center. Those who choose to attend conferences and other types of health seminars that deal with some form of chronic illness they or their spouse has are also allowed to deduct the fare incurred from the trip during the tax calculations.


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