Itemized Medical Tax Deductions

Are you wondering which medical tax deductions can be used on your itemized deduction form?

A deduction can be taken only for expenses that are paid to diagnosis, cure, alleviate, treat, or prevent a physical or mental ailment or condition.

Here are some examples of deductible expenses for the itemized medical tax deduction:



  • Physical Examination
  • Diagnostic Devices - for example a blood sugar test kit.
  • Laboratory tests like blood tests.
  • X-Rays
  • Electronic body scan
  • Eye exams
  • Acupuncture
  • Dental procedures such as fillings, braces, extractions, and dentures.
  • Chiropractor
  • Surgery
  • Prescribed medicines and drugs
  • Birth control pills
  • Insulin
  • Eye Surgery
  • Therapy that is part of your medical treatment
  • Weight loss program that is part of the treatment for conditions like obesity, hypertension, or heart disease.
  • Certain infertility treatments
  • Psychiatric care
  • Treatment at a health institute is only deductible with a written prescribtion from a physician stating that it is medically necessary.
Inpatient treatment including meals and lodging
  • Therapeutic center for alcohol addiction
  • Therapeutic center for drug addiction
  • Hospital
  • Nursing home
Medical supplies
  • Bandages, gauze pads, etc.
  • Breast pumps and supplies
  • Contact lenses and Eye glasses
  • Crutches
  • Hearing Aids (including batteries)
  • Artificial teeth
  • Wheelchair
  • Braille Books and Magazines - the difference in price between the Braille and regular print.
  • Special telephone equipment for the hearing-impaired like a teletypewriter (TTY) and telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) equipment which allows the person to communicate over a regular telephone. The cost of repairing the equipment can also be included.
  • Annual Physical Examination
  • Dental treatments like teeth cleaning, applying sealants, and fluoride treatments to prevent tooth decay.
  • Ambulance service
  • transportation can include bus, taxi, train, or airplane.
  • If a child is the one that need the medical care, transportation for an accompanying parent can also be deducted. The same is for the nurse's transportation in a case where a nurse must accompany a patient for medical reasons.
  • Regular visits to see a mentally ill dependent are deductible when these visits are recommended as a part of treatment.
  • When using your own car for transportation you can either deduct the cost of gas and oil or the standard medical mileage rate per mile which is different every year (since the cost of gas keeps on changing). For 2011 the medical mileage rate is 19 cents a mile from January 1 through June 30 and 23.5 cents per mile from July 1 to December 31.)
Other medical expenses
  • Artificial limbs
  • Guide Dog for a visually impaired person
  • Home improvements that are medically necessary for a sick or handicapped person like widening doors and hallways for a wheelchair or adding support bars and wall railings.
  • Special equipments installed in a car for a handicapped person.
  • Special education for learning diabled child
  • Stop smoking program
  • Care expenses for disabled dependent. (If the care was paid so that you should be able to work you might be able to claim the Dependent Care Credit instead.)
  • Organ donors can deduct the expenses related to the medical care received when donating an organ for transplant.

You can deduct medical and dental health insurance premiums. Long term care insurance premiums are deductible but there are limits as to how much you can deduct.

If your employer deducted your insurance premiums from your pay before deducting taxes then you can't use it as a medical tax deduction because you can't use the same deduction twice.

Here are examples of medical expenses you cannot deduct:

  • Cosmetic surgery - which only improves patients appearance and does not improve body function or prevent or treat illness are not medical tax deductions.
  • Controlled substances like marijuana, laetrile, etc. Even if they are legal in your state if they are illegal by federal law you can't use it as a deduction.
  • Medical Expenses that were used to calculate the Health coverage tax credit or the money was taken from a health savings account.
  • Vitamins or other nutritional supplements are not deductible unless prescribed by a doctor to treat a medical condition.

Want to know more about itemized medical tax deductions?

See Publication 502

See more medical expense tax deductions.

Updated January 13, 2012

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