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What qualifies as deductible medical expenses?

You can only claim the medical expense deduction if you meet specific criteria, including having expenses that are considered qualified medical expenses. The IRS says qualifying medical expenses must be for you, your spouse or dependents, and generally include:

  • Money you paid for diagnosing, treating, easing or preventing disease
  • Prescription drug and insulin costs
  • Insurance premiums for policies that cover qualified medical care
  • Some long-term care insurance costs

Examples of qualifying medical expenses include:

  • Hospital services
  • Eye exams, glasses and contact lenses (and contact supplies)
  • Breastfeeding supplies, education and support
  • Psychiatric care
  • Prosthetics
  • Stop-Smoking programs

The IRS provides a much longer and detailed list of qualified medical expenses in Publication 502.

Keep in mind that in addition to only being able to claim the deduction for qualified medical expenses, other rules apply. For example, if you already received reimbursement for a qualified medical cost from an insurance company or other source, you likely won’t be able to claim that expense. Plus, you can deduct amounts greater than 7.5% of your adjusted gross income.

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