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Author: toberead Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 884954  
Subject: Re: Poll: cataract surgery now or after age 65? Date: 10/8/2012 6:13 PM
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My husband is an employee of the state of South Carolina--it is what it is.

Do you have the option of a flexible spending account? A lot of places don't advertise it very well. It's money that's taken out of your paycheck each month and is saved in a health account tax free. You can spend it all as soon as the period starts (usually January 1) but you have to use it all before the end of the period (usually March of the next year) or you will lose it. The benefit is that you save on the taxes that would normally be taken out of that money.

Another financial factor: should I postpone to 2013 when DH is retiring and our income will be less? Doing both means the possibility of having enough medical expenses to actually have a tax deduction

It's very hard to manage a medical tax deduction. First, you have to itemize, so you lose your standard deduction. Secondly, you can only deduct any medical expenses that are higher than 7.5% of your income. So if you make $10,000 and spend $1000 on medical expenses, you can only deduct $250 (because the first $750 was the 7.5% limit you had to get over). Since you have few deductions and don't generally itemize, losing the standard deduction will probably hurt you more than you would gain from the medical tax deduction. I was unemployed for 8 months and had serious medical costs, but I still couldn't make the numbers work because of losing the standard deduction. At best, I might have come out even. If you're going to consider putting off the surgery until retirement, be sure to run the numbers to see if the tax deduction helps in a significant way.

I would also double check with your insurance company about coverage. The doctor may be right but in my experience, doctors aren't always experts on medical coverage. Call the insurance company directly and take detailed notes.

Karen
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