February 3, 2014
Tax season is preparing to kick-off here in the United States. And if you’re spending money out of pocket, it certainly might be worth talking with your tax professional to determine if your expenses meet the 2013 10% threshold of your adjusted gross income.
But how do your medical expenses and tax season fit together?
Did you know that your health insurance company provides you a way to capture your medical expenses in one location?
That's right – every single medical claim that is filed against your health insurance is documented. Each claim will show the amount applied to your deductible, the amount covered by your insurance, and the amount you paid out of pocket.
At the end of every year, you can download this file.
If you haven’t kept your medical receipts, this is how you capture what you spent on unreimbursed medical care. It took me a couple of years navigating my health insurance provider’s online services to figure this out. (Beware: the download button isn’t what you’d expect, it nor is it obvious.)
How To Download Your Medical Expenses
Log into your health insurance online account and click on your medical claims. You should be able to select an entire year of medical claims to download. Look for the Export (csv*) on your claims summary.
If you have United Health Care, you can see this is in the far right hand corner directly above your claims summary:
Hover over the Export (csv*) with your mouse and you’ll see the following popup:
Select “Save the link as” or open the file in a new tab to download the file to your computer. This will work for both Macs and PCs. You will get a download and the option to save the file to a directory of your choice on a PC. On a Mac, you can drag the download from your downloaded files to your desktop or folder of your choice.
Open the file you’ve downloaded. Note each health insurance company will have a different format, but the information should be the same.
The key things you need to be aware of in this spreadsheet include the following categories:
- amount billed
- amount applied to deductible
- amount paid by plan
- patient responsibility
- amount paid at visit/pharmacy
These categories will be calculated at the bottom of the spreadsheet. Patient responsibility is the amount you paid out-of-pocket. You can provide this information, along with any additional out-of-pocket medical expenses you incurred outside your health insurance plan, to your tax professional to assist you with determining if you qualify for the 2013 medical deduction.
Can You Deduct The Cost of Nutrition Supplements?
Many of you have asked if supplements are eligible for inclusion as part of your medical deduction. IRS publication 502 states the following about medical supplements:
You cannot include in medical expenses the cost of nutritional supplements, vitamins, herbal supplements, “natural medicines,” etc. unless they are recommended by a medical practitioner as treatment for a specific medical condition diagnosed by a physician. Otherwise, these items are taken to maintain your ordinary good health, and are not for medical care.
It appears that if you’ve got a competent team of doctors or practitioners who are well-versed in functional or integrative medicine steering your treatment, and you have a medical condition that has been diagnosed by a physician, you may be able to write off the cost of your supplements. To get started finding a doctor like this, you should consider visiting sites like:
As with any tax deduction, ensure you have proper documentation to support your deductions, and always consult with your tax advisor. I would love it if this helps you reduce your taxable income last year!
Learn More With the “Doctors And Insurance Bootcamp”
If you enjoyed this information, then you should check out the Doctors And Insurance Bootcamp that I'm teaching with Dr. Jack Kruse.
For this bootcamp, we are going to give you a foundational education on how to find a doctor, work with insurance companies, get your labs paid for and advocate for your own coverage. We’ve aggregated a wealth of resources, templates, scripts and more that we’re going to share with you to make it as easy as possible for you to find the help you need in the western healthcare system.
Webinar 1: Getting Started with Labs
Webinar 2: Finding a Doctor
Webinar 3: Health Insurance & How it Impacts You as a Patient
Webinar 4 & Q&A: How to Leverage your Health Insurance
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About Author Gretchen Bronson
Author of this post Gretchen Bronson knows first-hand what it’s like to journey through the maze of the health care system. Discouraged by the system’s inability to solve her medical problems and how difficult it can be to navigate, she sought doctors who could assist her and help her leverage the health insurance that she had. Gretchen has figured out how to get lab work and medical treatments covered by her insurance, cracked the code for successfully appealing medical claims and found doctors who support her Paleo lifestyle. After dealing with years of migraines, asthma, weight issues, Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, PCOS and Bipolar Disorder, she is on her way to optimal health and in a way that works for her and her insurance. As she continues her journey, Gretchen wants to share her story with others to inspire their path to health and wellness. For more information visit www.YourPaleoHealthCare.com.
Questions, comments or feedback about how to biohack your taxes, claim your medical expenses or deduct the cost of nutrition expense? Leave your thoughts below!