Question

Can I Deduct Health Insurance Premiums?

Answer

Health insurance premiums are deductible if you itemize your tax return. Whether you can deduct health insurance premiums from your tax return also depends on when and how you pay your premiums:

  • If you pay for health insurance before taxes are taken out of your check, you can’t deduct your health insurance premiums.
  • If you pay for health insurance after taxes are taken out of your paycheck, you might qualify for the medical expense deduction.
  • If you paid the premiums for a policy you obtained yourself, your health insurance premium is deductible when they are out-of-pocket costs.
  • If your insurance is through your employer, you can only deduct these:
    • Amounts you paid with after-tax funds
    • Medical expenses that are more than 7.5% of your adjusted gross income (AGI) for 2018. After 2018, the expenses must be more than due to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. 

You’ll need to review your paycheck stub to determine when you pay for health insurance. Also, if you have pre-tax amounts withheld from your paycheck for your insurance, the amount on your W-2, Box 1 won’t include the cost of your health insurance. So, your income is already adjusted for the cost of your health insurance.

Medical Insurance Premium Deductions: What Can Be Included

If you’ve paid premiums with after-tax money, include these payments:

  • Medical insurance
  • Dental insurance
  • Medicare A insurance (if you’re enrolled voluntarily and not as a Social Security recipient or government employee)
  • Medicare B supplemental insurance
  • Medicare D prescription insurance
  • HMO membership

Also, you can include long-term care insurance, up to these limits for 2019:

  • Age 40 or under: $420 maximum deduction
  • Age 41-50: $790 maximum deduction
  • Age 51-60: $1,580 maximum deduction
  • Age 61-70: $4,220 maximum deduction
  • Age 71 or older: $5,270 maximum deduction

Don’t include these payments:

  • Any amount you entered in the self-employed health insurance part of your return
  • Disability insurance
  • Life insurance
  • Vehicle insurance (even if it covers medical care in the event of an accident)
  • Medicare taxes
  • Insurance you used to figure your health coverage care credit (Form 8889)
  • The incremental cost of adding a nondependent child under age 27 to your policy
  • Medical costs reimbursed by any of these:
    • Insurance
    • Health savings accounts (HSAs)
    • Flexible spending accounts (FSAs)
    • Other tax-benefitted medical savings accounts

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