Deduction Dangers, Part 3: Medical and Dental Expenses

Find out which medical and dental expenses are deductible and how to claim them on your taxes—plus, some tax traps to avoid.

Laura Adams, MBA
4-minute read
Episode #262

Are Health Insurance Premiums Tax Deductible?

You can also deduct insurance premiums that cover medical and dental care—unless your employer paid them for you. That’s because the cost of employer-paid premiums are typically excluded from your gross income, making them a tax-free benefit to begin with. So deducting them on Schedule A would be double-dipping, which is definitely not allowed by the IRS.

Additionally, medical expenses paid using a health savings account don’t qualify for a tax deduction because funds in the account were never subject to tax.  

Medical Costs That Are Not Tax Deductible

While there are hundreds of expenses that qualify for the medical and dental tax deduction—don’t get carried away! Here’s a list of expenses that are not tax deductible:

  • Over-the-counter medicines that don’t require a prescription
  • Controlled substances like marijuana (even if legalized by state law)
  • Personal use items like toothpaste, tissues, or soap
  • Elective cosmetic surgery or hair transplants
  • Teeth whitening
  • Gym memberships or swimming lessons
  • Vitamins or nutritional supplements, unless recommended by a doctor to treat a diagnosed medical condition
  • Funeral or burial expenses


About the Author

Laura Adams, MBA

Laura Adams received an MBA from the University of Florida. She's an award-winning personal finance author, speaker, and consumer advocate who is a trusted and frequent source for the national media. Her book, Debt-Free Blueprint: How to Get Out of Debt and Build a Financial Life You Love was an Amazon #1 New Release. Do you have a money question? Call the Money Girl listener line at 302-364-0308. Your question could be featured on the show.