Deducting Medical and Dental Benefits on your taxes—5 things you should  know

If you incurred large out-of-pocket medical or dental expenses in 2015, you may be able to deduct them on your taxes. Here are 5 things you should know:

1. What expenses are eligible?

Eligible medical and dental expenses include but are not limited to out-of-pocket costs incurred for preventative care, treatment, surgeries, dental care, vision care, prescription medications and appliances such as glasses, false teeth and hearing aids. These expenses can be for yourself, your spouse or your dependents.

2. What expenses are not eligible?

In-eligible expenses include but are not limited to any medical or dental expenses for which you were reimbursed by your insurance, employer, health savings or flex spending accounts. Additionally, cosmetic procedures are generally not allowed. You also cannot deduct non-prescription drugs or general health expenses such as toothpaste or health club dues.

3. Why can’t I deduct expenses where I used my Health Savings or Flex Spending Accounts?

Health savings or flex spending accounts that are used to pay for medical or dental expenses are usually tax-free. Therefore you can’t deduct these expenses and receive a double tax benefit.

4. How much can I deduct?

According to the IRS website, you can deduct qualifying medical and dental expenses paid during the tax year that exceed 10% of your Adjusted Gross Income (AGI). Your AGI is your taxable income minus any adjustments to your income such as deductions, contributions to an IRA and student loan interest. An example would be if your AGI was $50,000 and you had out-of-pocket medical/dental expenses of $6,250. The amount you would be able to deduct would be $1,250 ($6,250 minus $5,000). If you or your spouse are 65 and older, there is a temporary exemption that allows you to deduct expenses exceeding 7.5% of AGI.

5. What is the next step?

If you determine that your deductions are greater than the standard deductions allowed for tax payers, then you will need to itemize those expenses on a Schedule A form (IRS Form 1040).

While the above information is intended to be a helpful guideline it should not be considered official tax advice.  Please contact your tax professional or the Internal Revenue Service directly to ensure you are complying with all of the tax rules in regard to deducting your medical and dental expenses.

Source: Blog

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Don’t let Dental Insurance dictate your Oral Health

“I only want to do what my dental insurance covers”. That is a phrase we hear often from patients who don’t want to have any out-of-pocket cost at their dental visit. Unfortunately, many don’t understand that this may prevent them from taking the best care of their teeth.

In reality, most dental insurance companies have not increased their benefits to their patients since the 1970’s. So the $1,000 annual maximum that they may pay for you today is the same as it was back in the 1970’s. The cost for dental services have increased, however, so you are getting less dental care paid for by your insurance today than you did 40+ years ago.

Similarly, their willingness to accept and pay for new technology also lags severely behind. For example, technological advances in laser treatment can make a substantial difference in improving your periodontal (gum) health and reducing bacteria in your mouth. Unfortunately, the insurance companies don’t yet recognize these benefits and refuse to pay for them. Even fluoride, which most insurance companies will allow for children, most likely won’t be covered as an adult. They know it can help improve your oral health so why decide you no longer need it after age 14? As a result, the patient that doesn’t want to pay any extra out-of-pocket cost at their visit is allowing their insurance company to dictate their oral health. Again, this is the same company that refuses to acknowledge that dental costs have increased and technologies have improved over the past 40+ years.

We do our best to help educate our patients about how dental insurance works. Our office prides itself on offering comprehensive dental care for all of our patients and this includes informing you of all treatment that needs to be done. Just as you would expect your primary care doctor to tell you everything that may be going on with your body, it is our responsibility to tell you everything that is going on with your oral health.  This also includes everything you can do to help prevent further issues from occurring, such as laser assisted perio therapy, regular fluoride treatments or laser bacterial reduction which most likely are not covered by your insurance.

We believe strongly in our technology and will always recommend treatment that can help improve your oral health. We encourage you to ask us questions about how it works, why it is important, and how it can make an impact on your life.

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Refer a Friend and Enter to Win a Best Buy Gift Card!

What a Super Bowl!!! We couldn’t be prouder of our Denver Broncos! The only thing that might have made it better would have been to watch it on a bigger TV!

Speaking of bigger TVs, if watching the big game made you realize your home electronics could use some updating of their own, we may have just what you need. In February, when you refer a new patient to our office you will be automatically entered to win a $500 gift card to Best Buy! The more patients you refer, the more entries you will receive. So start referring your family, friends, neighbors and co-workers today!

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Click here for the official rules of the program. Good luck and thank you for your referrals!