Health, though important, is by far the most neglected aspect when it comes to health expenses. Notwithstanding the rising medical expenses - thanks to the hectic lifestyle - not many people in the country today have adequate insurance covers.
While the public may not be concerned, government ensures that citizens protect themselves and their dear ones with adequate medical cover by giving tax breaks on expenses incurred for getting health insured.
Premium paid up to Rs 15,000 on a medical insurance policy is exempted from tax under section 80D of the Income Tax Act. A tax-payer paying premium toward insurance cover of dependant parents shall be entitled to an additional tax benefit of up to Rs 15,000.
If the parents are senior citizens, then this limit gets enhanced to Rs 20,000. Thus, the maximum tax benefit that a taxpayer can now avail by insuring the health of his/her entire family (including dependant parents) is Rs 30,000 or Rs 35,000 as the case may be.
Salaried employees are eligible for taxfree medical reimbursement from their employer up to a maximum of Rs 15,000 per annum. If the tax-payer incurs expenses (up to Rs 50,000)for medical treatment (including nursing, training and rehabilitation ) of a disabled dependant, the same shall be reduced from the taxable income per annum under section 80DD. Where however, the dependant suffers from severe disability, the amount of deduction shall be Rs 75,000 per annum.
Disability, for the purpose of this section includes autism, cerebral palsy and also mental retardation.
Any amount spent on the medical treatment of a dependant suffering from diseases like cancer, AIDS, Parkinsons disease, chronic renal failure, Thalassaemia etc. can be claimed as a deduction from the taxable income up to a maximum of Rs 40,000 under section 80DDB of the Income Tax Act. In case the dependant is a senior citizen, the amount of deduction shall get enhanced to Rs 60,000 per annum.
Any amount paid as a premium to cover the life of the tax-payer , his/her spouse or children shall be eligible for deduction from the total taxable income under section 80C of the Income Tax Act, up to a maximum of Rs 1 lakh per annum.
It is however important to note that this deduction is applicable provided the amount of premium paid does not exceed 20% of the sum assured by the insurance policy. (Sum assured is the amount ought to be received by the policy-holder from the insurance company after completion of the policy term. This term is usually referred to in case of endowment and money-back plans.)