To deduct medical expenses, you must itemize your deductions, and you can deduct eligible out-of-pocket expenses only to the extent they exceed 10% of your adjusted gross income (7.5% of AGI if you’re 65 or older, or if you file a joint return and either spouse is 65 or older).
Most medical expenses you pay out of pocket–such as deductibles, co-payments, prescription drugs, dental and vision care, and the portion of other medical bills not covered by insurance–are eligible for the tax break. You can count expenses for yourself, your spouse and anyone you claim as a dependent.
You can also deduct a wide range of other medical expenses, such as the cost of eyeglasses and contact lenses (and even contact lens insurance), 23 cents a mile to drive your car to get medical care, up to $50 per person per night for travel to receive medical care, health insurance premiums that weren’t paid with pretax money (including Medicare Part B and Part D premiums), chiropractor visits and a weight-loss program if recommended by your doctor as part of treatment for a specific medical problem.
You can also deduct qualified long-term-care services in certain circumstances, and if you have a “tax-qualified” policy, you can deduct a portion of long-term-care insurance premiums based on your age ($380 per person if you’re 40 or younger, $710 if 41 to 50, $1,430 if 51 to 60, $3,800 if 61 to 70 and $4,750 if you’re 71 or older).
For a list of eligible expenses, see IRS Publication 502, Medical and Dental Expenses.