Tax Tips And Resources From Your Health Insurer? BCBSA Joins Forces With H&R Block® To Help Members With Tax Prep For Healthcare Expenses
Expanded Blue365® program helps members save on tax prep
April 10, 2012
WASHINGTON – With the IRS tax deadline right around the corner, one resource that Americans may not be thinking about to help them with tax preparation may come from an unlikely source -- their health insurance company. Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) has joined forces with H&R Block to offer assistance with tax preparation resources to members of participating Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies.
Through its Blue365 Deals program (www.blue365deals.com) BCBSA worked with H&R Block to provide two ways to save. First, Blue365 Deals offers a $25 discount coupon on federal tax preparation for use at participating H&R Block retail locations. Additionally, Blue 365 Deals members can receive a 66 percent discount on H&R Block At Home™ do it yourself online tax products.
In addition to the discount on tax preparation services, BCBSA is highlighting additional tax tips from H&R Block related to healthcare expenses.
“Every household’s healthcare needs and finances are closely intertwined, so being able to provide members with ways to save on tax preparation – either through discounts or tax assistance from H&R Block – is something we really wanted to offer,” said Mark Talluto, executive director at BCBSA. “By offering discounts on products and services like this, we’re making it easier and more cost effective for members to take advantage of programs that will help them maintain a healthier and happier lifestyle. Blue365 is just one of the many ways that BCBS companies are working to keep their members healthy and save money.”
According to H&R Block, to be tax deductible, medical care expenses must be related to alleviating or preventing a physical or mental condition or a physical injury. H&R Block advises that:
“Only expenses that are more than 7.5% of your adjusted gross income (AGI) are deductible. For instance, if your AGI is $50,000, only expenses over $3,750 ($50,000 × 7.5%) are deductible.
Expenses that are simply beneficial to general health, like vitamins and vacations, are not tax deductible healthcare expenses. Also, expenses that are (or could be) paid by insurance are not deductible. Qualifying medical expenses that could be deducted include:
- The cost of medical care from various types of practitioners, including family practitioners, dentists, eye doctors, physical therapists, chiropractors, psychiatrists, psychologists and other qualified medical practitioners.
- Transportation costs to and from medical care. The deduction for a personal car is 19 cents per mile from Jan. 1 to June 30, 2011 and 23.5 cents per mile from July 1 to Dec. 31, 2011.
- Prescription medicines.
- Amounts paid for long-term care services and qualified long-term care insurance.
- Medical insurance premiums (although you can’t deduct pre-tax salary contributions made to an employer-sponsored plan).
- Amounts you pay for Medicare premiums.”
Additional information about healthcare expenses and tax returns can be found at http://www.hrblock.com/taxes/tax_tips/deductions_credits/medical_expenses.html?ttiptitle=Medical%20%20Expenses.
In 2011, members saved an estimated $2.49 million through the Blue365 program – an average savings of $227 per transaction. The program expanded in February 2012 to offer additional ‘weekly deals’ to members. Since the expansion, there have been more than 30,000 new visitors to the Blue365 Deals website (www.blue365deals.com).
About H&R Block
H&R Block, Inc. (NYSE: HRB) has prepared more than 575 million tax returns worldwide since 1955, making it the country’s largest tax services provider. In fiscal 2011, H&R Block had annual revenues of $3 billion and prepared more than 24.5 million tax returns worldwide, including Canada and Australia. Tax return preparation services are provided in company-owned and franchise retail tax offices by approximately 100,000 professional tax preparers, and through H&R Block At Home™ digital products. The H&R Block Bank provides affordable banking products and services. For more information, visit the H&R Block Online Press Center.
About the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association
The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association is a national federation of 38 independent, community-based and locally operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies that collectively provide healthcare coverage for 100 million members – one-in-three Americans. For more information on the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association and its member companies, please visit www.BCBS.com.
The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association is a national federation of 36 independent, community-based and locally-operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies that collectively provide healthcare coverage for more than 105 million members – one-in-three Americans. For more information on the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association and its member companies, please visit bcbs.com. We encourage you to connect with us on Facebook, check out our videos on YouTube, follow us on Twitter and check out The BCBS Blog, for up-to-date information about BCBSA.