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Retirees: Deduct Your Long-Term Care Insurance Premium

December 28, 2023

Even if you have a long-term care insurance policy, you may likely be hoping that you won’t ever have reason to use it. Regardless of what the future holds, there’s one silver lining of which you may not be aware. That is, premiums on many long-term care insurance policies are in fact tax-deductible.

What Is Long-Term Care Insurance?
Long-term care insurance, or LTCI, can help you prepare for covering the cost of care in a nursing home facility or other setting when and if you need it. Unfortunately, the likelihood that you’ll need long-term care services at some point is high. In fact, about 70 percent of older adults find themselves having to rely on at least some long-term care in their later years.

When individuals require long-term care, it means that they need assistance when completing activities of daily living (ADLs). These basic daily tasks include dressing oneself, showering, or moving safely from one place to another in one’s household, such as from the bed to the bathroom, or in and out of one’s chair. In most cases, your LTCI policy will begin covering long-term care services if you cannot perform at least two ADLs on your own.

The cost of LTCI policy premiums can be out of reach for many people, and some insurers have been raising premiums over the course of time. According to one 2022 survey by HCG Secure, a mere one in 10 of Americans older than 65 have a long-term care insurance policy. However, if you have purchased a tax-qualified plan, you may be able to deduct the insurance premium as a medical expense.

Is My Long-Term Care Insurance Policy Tax-Deductible?
You can deduct numerous types of medical and dental expenses from your taxes. In addition to qualified long-term care insurance premiums, other deductible health expenses include the following:

prescription medications and insulin
substance use disorder inpatient treatment or smoking-cessation programs
prescription or reading eyeglasses
contact lenses
hearing aids
X-rays
artificial teeth
acupuncture treatments
the cost of caring for a guide dog for a person with a vision or hearing disability
When filing your 2023 federal income taxes, check with your insurance broker or state insurance commission to determine whether your LTCI policy qualifies.

Only certain long-term care insurance policies meet the criteria for a tax deduction. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners sets these rules. Typically, many hybrid long-term care policies do not qualify for a premium deduction. (For more information on what defines a qualified LTCI contract, consult the IRS’ Publication 502 for the current tax year.)

If your policy does qualify, you can deduct your LTCI policy premium up to a specified limit. Keep in mind that you will only be eligible for a tax deduction if all of your eligible medical expenses totaled more than 7.5 percent of your adjusted gross income for the year.

Select states also offer LTCI tax incentives, so be sure to check with your tax advisor. Note, too, that if you are self-employed, the rules regarding these deductions can differ.

How Much Can I Deduct in 2024?
If your annual LTCI policy premium is higher than the limit provided in the table below, it will count as a medical expense. The older you are, the higher your deductible limit. For example, if you are a 75-year-old individual at the end of 2023, you may be able to deduct up to $5,880 in LTCI premiums as qualified medical expenses.

Table 1. 2024 LTCI Tax Deductible Limits.
Attained Age Before the Close of 2023

Maximum Deduction in 2024

Age 40 or younger

$470

Age 41 to 50

$880

Age 51 to 60

$1,760

Age 61 to 70

$4,710

Age 71 and older

$5,880

These are lower deduction limits than in previous years. The Internal Revenue Service adjusts these limits each year.

The cost of long-term care services can in large part depend on where you live. Check out this online tool to get an estimate based on your ZIP code.

The ins and outs of LTCI products can prove to be complicated. Consult with an experienced tax or elder law attorney. An elder law attorney can provide guidance and also assist you in planning for the possibility that you will need long-term care in the future.