Investing in a medical alert system isn’t an expense that is on the top of many seniors’ spending lists. Some of these devices can be expensive and are not covered by your average medical insurance plan.
However, medical alert systems are essential for seniors who live independently in their own homes. These medical safety devices ensure that caregivers and seniors alike live their lives to the fullest and do not feel restricted or scared to do the things they love.
If you are a senior living in Canada or a relative of one and are contemplating purchasing an alert system you may be asking yourself “does this medical spend qualify for a tax deduction?”. To get the answer, you have landed at the right place!
What Are Medical Alert Systems?
Medical alert systems offer emergency monitoring both inside and outside of the home. These devices can be found in many variations including panic buttons, automatic fall detection devices, automatic pill dispensers, and so on and so forth. Each device offers its own set of safety advantages.
Most personal medical alert systems are programmed to alert a Response Centre in case of emergency situations that require an immediate response.
Certain alert systems, such as the Northwood Intouch On-The-Move and Automatic Fall Detection can also instantly notify caregivers and family members in incidents where a senior has had a fall or requires emergency assistance.
Ensuring that seniors get help as soon as possible can make all the difference in any medical emergency.
These alert systems also allow seniors to feel safer and more confident when living on their own knowing that if anything were to happen help is never too far away!
Are Medical Alert Systems Tax Deductible In Canada?
Canadians who are interested in purchasing a medical alert system, such as the ones offered by Northwood Intouch, will find that these personal response systems are considered common medical expenses. As such, they aren’t tax deductible in Canada.
The monthly, annual, or installation cost of medical alert systems such as lifeline and health line services cannot be deducted from your gross income for tax purposes. As these systems are purely used for additional security and safety and aren’t considered a necessity and cannot be claimed.
Therefore, it is important to note that insurance providers will not cover the cost of personal alert systems and the expenses incurred will have to be paid out of pocket.
Should You Claim A Medical Tax Deduction?
Let's say a tax expert tells you that you are eligible to deduct a certain medical expense from your gross income for tax purposes. However, even in such an instance, claiming such an expense might not be in your best interest. In such a scenario, you will have to determine whether the deduction would have a positive impact on the total amount of tax you are liable to pay which in most cases isn’t the case.
According to Canadian tax law, you can only deduct medical and dental expenses that exceed 3% of your net income. So, if your net income is $70,000, only expenses worth more than $2,100, can be written off.
It is important to remember that depending on where you live in Canada, the maximum amount you can deduct for medical expenditures can also vary. As such, it is always advisable to consult with a tax professional before claiming a medical expense deduction.
How To Claim Medical Expense Deductions?
If you are positive that deducting your medical costs will have a significant impact on the amount of tax you will have to pay you can claim qualified medical expenses on lines 33099 and 33199 on your tax return.
Medical costs for you and your partner for that year are listed on line 33099.
Line 33199 on your tax return also includes the medical costs for any dependent children who are under the age of 18 for that tax period. Medical costs for additional family relatives that depend on you for medical care are also included on line 33199.
What Other Options Do I Have?
Medical alert systems aren’t tax deductible but that doesn’t mean you don’t have other options to try and save a bit of money.
The government of Canada and other private institutions offer healthcare programs that can assist in recovering a portion of medical costs that wouldn’t otherwise be applicable for claims.
You can also choose to tap into your Health Savings Account (HSA) or Medical Savings Account (MSA) to help cover some of the cost.
Affordable Medical Alert System Providers In Canada
Non-profit organizations such as Northwood Intouch offer these life-saving medical alert devices as a monthly subscription which makes buying them and having them installed a whole lot more affordable for seniors and their loved ones. Because they are non-profit, they do not have to charge tax on the monthly service. They can also guide families to a variety of funding options including their own subsidy program that reduces the cost of the basic system to half of the regular monthly fee.To learn more about medical alert systems and whether these devices are right for your situation, please give us a call at (902)-492-3346 or 1-800-461-3346.