Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Do you track your medical expenses?

In order to claim medical expenses on your taxes, they need to be more than 7.5% of your Adjusted Gross Income.  Contributions to your premiums and Flexible Spending (FSA) don't count.

In the past, I have not tracked our medical expenses closely.  Because we put so much into FSA and get the pretax benefit from that, we don't meet the minimum amount to claim.  Years ago I tried.  I kept everything.  I entered everything into our taxes....and we weren't able to claim any of it.  So I stopped.

This year, the FSA amount you are able to contribute was lowered to a max of $2500.  We are contributing the max, and because we know we need more, we also have a "medical" CapOne (formerly ING) account.  We will still put aside the same amount, but only get a pretax benefit on the $2500.

I thought I would try again in tracking the expenses.  I set up a spreadsheet that tracks what is reimbursed by FSA, medical bills we are continuing to pay on that had a date of service before 2013, mileage, and over the counter.

The over the counter....gotta double check on this one....I know it doesn't count for FSA, but need to check if it counts on the taxes.  If it doesn't, then I won't waste my time.  Honestly, I haven't done a good job on tracking this one so far.

I am not sure any of this will matter.  We still might not meet the minimum requirement (actually, I am pretty sure we won't).  But thought I would give it another shot.

Anyone else track their medical expenses?  If you do, how do you track it?  Are you able to deduct it from your taxes?


  1. We ALWAYS track medical expenses! Only once in the past 17 years have we not exceeded the 7.5% threshold. I keep a spiral notebook with four columns - date, cost, provider, mileage. All supporting receipts etc. are kept in a folder with the notebook.

    OTC meds are generally not deductible, though it is possible in some instances with a doctor's prescription. Mileage can add up when you do a lot of traveling to appointments, so it's worth it to keep track. Also, parking fees at hospitals etc. are deductible, so write those down. If there are any overnight stays related to the medical condition, those can be partially counted. Also, any trips to medical conferences - mileage and registration fees - are eligible.

    By far, our biggest expenses are non-covered medical equipment. Durable equipment bought specifically for the care of the patient can be counted. Any adaptations to your home can be used. Don't overlook anything that you can justify as being purchased solely because of a medical condition.

    Also, you absolutely can count what you paid in health insurance premiums! That can really add up. We are fortunate that our employer pays 100% of our premium, but most companies do not.

    Keep track of everything - you might be surprised!


    1. Turbo Tax said pre-tax health insurance premiums do NOT count. Are your health premiums after taxes?

      Our pretax contributions already put us over the 7.5%, but since Turbo Tax said we can't use pretax....we stopped tracking. The FSA stuff was reimbursable, so that didn't count, and then like I said, Turbo Tax said premiums didn't count.

    2. Our employer pays all our premiums, so it doesn't apply to us. But I suspect that since your premiums are paid out of pre-tax dollars and thus out of money not included in your gross income, then you can't claim them. You probably come out better by having your gross income reduced upfront.

  2. Sorry, not me... Thankfully, I only pay co-pays for Dr visits and maybe 1-3 prescriptions a year, so no more than $100 after all is said and done. Nowhere near the 7.5%. But I think you should still track it... you never know.

  3. Bank of America saves all check images, I was able to add up all the checks we sent to providers. The Citi card also has up to 24 months of statements. I went to add it all up and we spent $6,200 last year, not enough to claim on our taxes. I think with Obamacare now it's 10% of AGI starting this year, that way the government can keep more tax money.


  4. I'm still looking into this for my tax return, but I don't think over the counter are eligible anymore. I was tracking, but then realized both our health insurance companies have great online tools where I can see all my out of pocket for the year for doctor visits and prescriptions. I just print those out and use that. We've been over the 7.5% the past few years, so definitely pays to keep track of it in some fashion.

  5. My employer funds a health savings account that covers the majority of medical expenses (this is a change from the last 10 years with the company where they covered all expenses at 100%). My out of pocket is below $500 for the year, so we definitely don't get to claim anything. I cover myself + the kids on my plan, and my husband insures himself through his employer.

    The excellent health benefits are in the top three reasons that I've stayed at my current employer. It's really, really hard to leave such great benefits.

  6. I am not sure about what is you can report for taxes because there were a lot of changes due to the Affordable Care Act.

  7. Hi, I'm your newest follower. I happened on your blog by chance and have found it an interesting read.
    Regards, Enii

  8. I only learned the importance of tracking medical expenses when my grandma got terribly ill. Better late than never! A friend suggested that we use software. And we’re really thankful for that, though we have no idea what was that then. Worrying for granny is enough to drain our being, so the help of a computer program was really very helpful. It saves time, and we’ve had fewer rejected claims since then. -->Almeta