Note that one of the few retroactive changes in the new tax law which affects filing in 2017 is that up until January 1, 2019, the threshold for deducting medical expenses is 7.5% for all taxpayers. Previous rules had 2017 moving to a 10% threshold for all taxpayers, even those age 65 or older. It makes “expense bunching” much more important.

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Medical expenses are the costs of diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease, and the costs for treatments affecting any part or function of the body. In addition to doctor and hospital bills, it includes the costs of equipment, supplies, and diagnostic devices needed for these purposes. It also includes dental expenses.

Medical care expenses must be incurred primarily to alleviate or prevent a physical or mental defect or illness. Medical expenses include the premiums paid for insurance that covers the expenses of medical care, and the amounts paid for transportation to get medical care. Medical expenses also include amounts paid for qualified long-term care services and limited amounts paid for qualified long-term care insurance contract.