Discussion Archives:Copay not deductible as a Medical Expense?

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Discussion Forum Index --> Basic Tax Questions --> Copay not deductible as a Medical Expense?


Discussion Forum Index --> Tax Questions --> Copay not deductible as a Medical Expense?

Jamesc (talk|edits) said:

2011-10-28
One client told me that he heard the copay at doctor's office visit is not deductible as a Medical Expense on Schedule A. I could not find it from any sources.

CrowCPA (talk|edits) said:

28 October 2011
Sounds like the same type of client who thinks their water bill is deductible because they pay it to the town, just like property tax.

Solomon (talk|edits) said:

28 October 2011
Did you try his source image:smile.jpg

Ckenefick (talk|edits) said:

29 October 2011
I have heard, through various sources, that a routine medical check-up/wellness visit, when nothing is wrong, is non-deductible because it doesn't meet the definition of medical care (below). Is this true?

(d) Definitions. For purposes of this section — (1) The term “medical care” means amounts paid— (A) for the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease, or for the purpose of affecting any structure or function of the body

CrowCPA (talk|edits) said:

29 October 2011
I would argue that the purpose of any check-up is for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases. The diseases simply have not been identified before the appointment.

Ckenefick (talk|edits) said:

29 October 2011
Let's say there are no diseases before the appointment, during the appointment or after the appointment. That is, no diseases are diagnosed or treated at the wellness visit. So, how does a wellness visit, in and of itself, prevent a disease, especially when the physician does not offer any preventative advice since a clean bill of health is given?

KatieJ (talk|edits) said:

29 October 2011
Well, what was the purpose of the exercise then -- a social visit? Of course disease prevention or diagnosis is the purpose. The fact that no illness was diagnosed is meaningless.

Would you deny a deduction for the cost of scheduled well-baby pediatric visits? Of course not.

Ckenefick (talk|edits) said:

29 October 2011
The purpose of the visit was not social, but rather, to check one's "general health." A wellness visit isn't for the purpose of diagnosing a disease or preventing one. It is to assess one's general health or wellness. And we all know what the rule is for expenditures relating to one's general health - nondeductible.

RoyDaleOne (talk|edits) said:

29 October 2011
What about these?

long list of things that have found to have been medical care, copy/pasted from a research service, has been deleted under TaxAlmanac's copyright policies.

Ckenefick (talk|edits) said:

29 October 2011
...I wasn't totally serious. Just thought a Friday Night Debate would be fun...but it does raise the issue: Something that seems so simple, really isn't under the tax code. Arguably, a wellness visit could be viewed as an expenditure associated with one's general health. But as everyone poinnts out (including Roy's #29), this deduction is authorized under the tax law as preventative.

Kind of like this one: I put oil in my business auto. Why isn't this a capital expenditure? After all, without the oil, the engine freezes up and breaks down...and now my car is worth much less.

Natalie (talk|edits) said:

October 29, 2011
Just wondering - don't plans on the Mainland require a copay for every doctor's visit? We have to pay every time.

Death&Taxes (talk|edits) said:

29 October 2011
For a second, I thought Chris was going over to the dark side.

Between Medicare and Medigap, I pay no co-pays. The indemnity policy I had for self and late wife had a $300 deductible, no co-pays and no networks......once we reached $300 they paid everything, and with wife having CHF, and with her 18 prescriptions, we reached that number by the middle of February. In 2000 it cost almost $1500 a month; I hate to think of the price today.

Fsteincpa (talk|edits) said:

29 October 2011
My back hurts and I want to bring in a massage therapist to relieve the stress. I want to deduct.

DaveFogel (talk|edits) said:

29 October 2011
Jamesc, page 12 of Pub. 502 answers your question by stating the following:

Physical Examination

You can include in medical expenses the amount you pay for an annual physical examination and diagnostic tests by a physician. You do not have to be ill at the time of the examination.

Example. Beth goes to see Dr. Hayes for her annual check-up. Dr. Hayes does a physical examination and has some lab tests done. Beth can include the cost of the exam and lab tests in her medical expenses if her insurance does not cover the cost.

Ckenefick (talk|edits) said:

29 October 2011
What if Beth doesn't have any lab tests done?

DaveFogel (talk|edits) said:

29 October 2011
I would think that the annual check-up, even if it doesn't include lab tests, would be included in the "prevention of disease" category and would be deductible.

When it comes to "general health" types of expenses, Reg. 1.213-1(e)(1)(ii) states, "However, an expenditure which is merely beneficial to the general health of an individual, such as an expenditure for a vacation, is not an expenditure for medical care." A doctor's check-up is hardly a vacation!

Death&Taxes (talk|edits) said:

29 October 2011
You can't have a doctor's checkup today without him/her dispatching you to the nearest Labcorp for a series of tests, and undergoing an EKG. Tuesday I will have a large cataract removed from my right eye, so I had to get clearance from a regular doctor and also go through "bloodwork" for the Opthamologist.....the regular doctor took the EKG, interviewed me and filled out prescriptions for more lab work and then signed off on the operation. So I had a medical reason for the first set of lab tests and for his initial work, but the second set of tests makes me think he owns stock in the lab.

For a real chuckle, read the rules on lead paint removal (Rev Ruling 79-66). Paint removal from areas readily accessible or reachable to the child (who in the case that brought about the ruling had already ingested the paint) or in poor repair qualified as medical expense. I had a client who bought an old 3-story Victorian who had the lead-based paint removed because it was peeling from the upper stories.....as he pointed out, peeling paint does fall. The client was a doctor much of whose income came from being a hired gun and giving testimony....he was the perfect witness in stressing the case for prevention of lead poisoning. Of course, he was never questioned.

Harry Boscoe (talk|edits) said:

29 October 2011
What if Beth doesn't pay the doctor bill? And the doctor fails to detect the abnormal growth under her fingernail? And the surgery is too late. And the doctor's malpractice policy lapsed yesterday?

Ckenefick (talk|edits) said:

29 October 2011
I love to eat paint chips!!!

Okie1tax (talk|edits) said:

29 October 2011
kenefick, I used to work for the phone company. Their wires are covered by a plastic that we splicer had to "skin" back to make connections at terminals, etc. Electricians do the same kind of thing with their wires. So, what do you do with all those little pieces of plastic? Why, you chew on them right? Then the EPA, or some similiar organization determined that that type plastic had lead in in and caused brain malfunction. So, now you know why I became a Tax Professional!!!

Ckenefick (talk|edits) said:

30 October 2011
That explains everything.

...actually, I had a client one time that owned a rental. Tenant left kid alone in the house, kid ate a bunch of lead paint chips. If rental was housed in a 1-member LLC, would this provide any legal liability protection in this case?

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