November 23, 2011 7:38 pm

Examples of Deductible Medical Expenses

Many types of costs can qualify as deductible medical expenses. Here is a roundup of deductible expenses; the list is not exclusive and other types of expenses may also qualify for the itemized medical deduction.

Professional services:

  • Annual physical
  • Chiropodist
  • Chiropractor
  • Christian Science practitioner
  • Dermatologist
  • Dentist
  • Full body scans
  • Gynecologist
  • Neurologist
  • Nurse, including board, wages, and employment taxes on wages
  • Nurse’s aide for an elderly person in need of supervision and assistance
  • Obstetrician
  • Ophthalmologist
  • Optician
  • Optometrist
  • Osteopath
  • Pediatrician
  • Physician
  • Physiotherapist
  • Plastic surgeon for medically necessary surgery
  • Podiatrist
  • Practical nurse
  • Psychiatrist
  • Psychoanalyst
  • Psychologist
  • Registered nurse
  • Surgeon

Dental services:

  • Artificial teeth
  • Cleaning teeth
  • Dental X-rays
  • Extracting teeth
  • Filling teeth
  • Gum treatment
  • Oral surgery
  • Orthodontia

Equipment and supplies:

  • Abdominal supports
  • Arches
  • Artificial eyes and limbs
  • Autoette
  • Back supports
  • Blood sugar test kit
  • Braces
  • Braille books and magazines
  • Contact lenses
  • Crutches
  • Elastic hosiery
  • Eyeglasses
  • Hearing aids
  • Heating devices
  • Home exercise equipment for doctor-prescribed weight loss
  • Home pregnancy test
  • Invalid chair
  • Iron lung
  • Mattress to alleviate arthritic condition
  • Orthotics and orthopedic shoes (but only the excess over the cost of regular shoes)
  • Oxygen or oxygen equipment to relieve breathing problems caused by a medical condition
  • Reclining chair if prescribed by a doctor
  • Repair of special telephone equipment for someone who is hearing impaired
  • Sacroiliac belt
  • Seeing-eye dog and its maintenance
  • Splints
  • Telephone-teletype costs and television adapter for closed-caption service for someone who is hearing impaired
  • Television adapter to display the audio part of programs as subtitles for the hearing impaired
  • Truss
  • Wheelchair
  • Whirlpool baths prescribed by a doctor
  • Wig advised by a doctor as essential to the mental health of a person who lost all hair from disease

Home improvements:

  • Air conditioner where necessary for relief from an allergy or for relieving difficulty in breathing
  • Cost of installing stair-seat elevator for a person with a heart condition
  • Fluoridation unit
  • Lead-based paint removal to prevent a child with lead poisoning from eating the paint (but not the cost of repainting the scraped area)
  • Ramps for wheelchair access
  • Swimming pool

Note that the amount of home improvements, such as a swimming pool, treated as a deductible medical expense usually is limited to the extent they do not increase the home’s value. However, this limitation does not apply to improvements necessary to cope with a disability (e.g., a ramp or railing for someone who is wheelchair-bound).


  • Blue Cross and Blue Shield
  • Contact lens replacement insurance
  • Health insurance premiums you pay to cover hospital, surgical, and other medical expenses (Health insurance paid by your employer is not deductible by you, but you aren’t taxed on this benefit.)
  • Long-term care insurance to the extent permitted for your age (explained later in this chapter)
  • Medicare Part B (and Medicare Part A for those not covered by Medicare)
  • Medicare Part D
  • Medigap (supplemental Medicare insurance)
  • Membership in a medical service cooperative
  • Student health fee

Medicine and drugs:

  • Birth control pills
  • Insulin
  • Prescription drugs
  • Viagra if medically prescribed


  • Blood tests
  • Cardiograms
  • Metabolism tests
  • Spinal fluid tests
  • Sputum tests
  • Stool examinations
  • Urine analyses
  • X-ray examinations

Treatments and programs:

  • Abortion
  • Alcoholism inpatient treatment at a therapeutic center
  • Acupuncture
  • Blood transfusion
  • Breast reconstructive surgery following a mastectomy
  • Childbirth classes for expectant mothers
  • Childbirth delivery
  • Clarinet lessons advised by a dentist for the treatment of tooth defects
  • Convalescent home

Tax Refunds Abound

About 110.9 million refunds were issued to individuals for the 2010 tax year (the most recent year for statistics). The average refund was $2,953. The total amount of refunds was $327.4 billion.

Source: Office of the National Taxpayer Advocate

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