OK, so we’re still slogging through taxes. We figured out today – thanks to our family accountant – what we have to clear on total medical expenses for the year in order to be able to start deducting them from our taxes. I never thought we’d ever be eligible for that deduction given how high that threshold often is; I figured it was a long-shot at best. We put $5,000 in our flexible spending account last year (EVERY family with an autistic child should have one of those), drained it in four months, and then paid out of pocket for the rest. But I still didn’t realize just how much we’d spent.
FYI – If your total medical expenses for 2008 exceed 7.5% of your adjusted gross income (any money you paid into a flexible spending account doesn’t count since you already don’t pay tax on it), you can start deducting your expenses above that amount. What qualifies as a deductible medical expense? The things you’d expect (doctor visit co-pays, etc.), but there’s also lots of stuff you’d never imagine, like over-the-counter drugs and contact lens solution. Read Publication 502 from the IRS. Learn it, love it. You may also want to download this expense guide from one of the larger flexible spending account administrators in the U.S. It’s helpful too as it goes into more detail than the IRS document.
Anyway, we’re still not done tallying all this up, but all of our eligible medical expenses plus our insurance premiums (which by the way aren’t deductible if they come out of your paycheck pre-tax), so far come to a frightening number.
And you know, as far as parents with autistic children go, I’ve heard of people spending way more than that a year. We have decent enough insurance compared to some other people we know, too. It could be much worse. This does include medical expenses for Mary and I, but we can only forgo so much medical care to accommodate what we have to pay for him. We still do have to go ourselves sometimes.
I think we got that 7.5% threshold covered. Sigh.
And if you don’t think health insurance and health care reform is critical to the future of the United States, come over here and let me smack you in the head.
But you know, we’d do it all over again and again for him because that’s what we have to do. He’s worth every bit of it and infinitely more. But the thing is, we shouldn’t have to run up our credit cards or take money out of our homes to pay for all this. None of us should. Our children deserve better, and it’s time we find better ways to give it to them.