Tax deduction for medical tourism?
Asked by: pmitchem
I’m writing a paper on medical tourism, and I’d like some general advice about what is tax deductible and what isn’t, please. I haven’t really found much information other than “consult your tax professional.”
Let’s say I need to have a knee replacement, and I either have no insurance or my insurance has a really high deductible. I decide that I can go to another country (Thailand, India, etc.) and have my knee replaced for a fraction of what it would cost in the US.
I believe there’s some minimum I have to hit in order to deduct medical expenses, so say I can do that. What then would be deductible?
My flight to the foreign country and transportation to/from the hospital?
The actual surgery/medical care/hospital stay-room and board/medications?
Once I leave the hospital, I would need physical therapy as an outpatient. I think I could deduct the therapy and any medications, but what about lodging and meals during that time?
If I needed help to get around, and I wanted a friend to come with me, would any portion of that person’s trip be deductible?
Is there anything else that would be deductible? Are there any other tax advantages that might come into play?
I imagine if a person wanted cosmetic surgery that wouldn’t be deductible in the US, it wouldn’t be deductible elsewhere. The issue would probably also get more complicated for something like a cancer treatment that wasn’t available in the US. Does medical necessity factor in at all?
Thanks for your help!!
Thanks for the replies so far. I did look up IRS publication 502, but it says under transportation expenses you cannot include: “Travel for purely personal reasons to another city for an operation or other medical care.”
This is where I get confused… I could get my knee replaced in Kalamazoo, but I want to go to Kuala Lumpur because it’s cheaper. Is that deemed a personal reason, so it wouldn’t be deductible?
Maybe this is the simpler way to ask the question…if I hit the 7.5% of my AGI (had to look up what that meant!) in medical expenses, and I choose to have my knee replaced overseas because it’s cheaper, would the medical expenses incurred over there be just as deductible as those in the US? And would there be any reason from a tax standpoint for me not to choose going overseas for care?
I guess there’s a reason people are advised to consult their tax professional! : )