Many consumers overlook deductions built into the tax code that are designed to make medical care and health insurance more affordable. Consumers who had high medical expenditures in 2011, who pay for their own individually-purchased health insurance, who are self-employed, or who care for aging parents should educate themselves on the opportunities to deduct a portion of these expenses from their federal income tax.

These tax tips are courtesy of eHealthInsurance.

Itemizing health insurance and medical expenses –If you itemize on your federal tax return you may be able to deduct medical expenses from your taxable income. According to IRS Publication 502, qualifying medical expenses may include monthly premiums you pay for coverage (including some Medicare premiums), copayments, deductibles, dental expenses, and costs for some services not covered by your insurance plan. You can even deduct mileage (at 19 cents per mile for the first half of 2011 and 23.5 cents for the second) accrued while driving to and from regular appointments. Keep in mind: you can only deduct the portion of your medical expenses that exceeds 7.5 percent of your adjusted gross income. That means this deduction isn't for everyone, but if you (or one of your dependents) were seriously ill or hospitalized last year—or if you paid COBRA premiums in 2011—you may qualify.

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