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CSS Profile Medical Expenses

mathmomvtmathmomvt Posts: 4,170Registered User Senior Member
edited February 2011 in Financial Aid & Scholarships
The instructions for the CSS Profile line for medical expenses read:

Enter the amount of money your parents paid or expect to pay in 2010 for medical and dental expenses, including insurance premiums. Don't include amounts covered or reimbursed by any medical or dental plan including insurance or a government sponsored health care system. Don't include health insurance deductions for the self-employed from 2010 IRS Form 1040, line 29. If your parents included medical and dental expenses as an itemized deduction on their U.S. income tax return, they may enter the amount from Schedule A, line 1. (See IRS instructions for Form 1040, Schedule A for a comprehensive list of expenses to include.)

Can I include insurance premiums paid pre-tax?

Can I include payments that were made from a flexible spending account, also funded with pre-tax dollars?

I'm pretty sure neither of those would be allowed on Schedule A, line 1. But the CSS Profile made me report my flexible spending benefits as untaxed income, so it seems possible that it is permissible to count expenses paid with those dollars in that case.

Also it seems odd that if they don't want you to count pre-tax payments for health insurance, that that is not mentioned, considering that that is how a large number of people pay their health insurance premiums.

If we include both insurance premiums and amounts paid out of our flexible spending plan, it comes to about 8% of our AGI, and so would probably be worth including. If we can only include what the IRS allows on schedule A, line 1 then it's not going to be worth reporting.
Post edited by mathmomvt on

Replies to: CSS Profile Medical Expenses

  • upstatemomupstatemom Posts: 520Registered User Member
    I have the same question about health insurance premiums paid pre-tax. I sent in Profiles for D who applied EA to 2 schools without including the premiums, then read in Paying For College without Going Broke that one should include premiums. So I am confused and now will try to amend the 2 sent Profiles.
  • mathmomvtmathmomvt Posts: 4,170Registered User Senior Member
    Is there anywhere to get more complete/detailed instructions for the CSS Profile? Their "help" option does not help much. I don't want to do this wrong, but the instructions are very unclear!
  • FlMathMomFlMathMom Posts: 1,307Registered User Senior Member
    I emailed the Profile people with my specific questions. They were very helpful.
  • mathmomvtmathmomvt Posts: 4,170Registered User Senior Member
    Thanks! For some reason I had failed to find the "contact us" link last time I looked. I'll definitely try that!
  • upstatemomupstatemom Posts: 520Registered User Member
    According the fin aid director of Sarah Lawrence, one does include health insurance premiums with medical expenses even if they were taken out of income pre-tax. Great news!
  • mathmomvtmathmomvt Posts: 4,170Registered User Senior Member
    Interesting! I sent a message to CSS Profile Help and they said "no" to including items paid for out of flexible spending plans that are funded with pre-tax money. (That's not an insurance plan, that's just money you put away pre-tax and then can spend on medical expenses.) That was even though that money is explicitly ADDED back into income on the profile. Perhaps I will ask again. The reply I got didn't seem authoritative.
  • upstatemomupstatemom Posts: 520Registered User Member
    I was just talking about the cost of health insurance, not anything related to flexible spending accounts. We do not have that, so I do not know how that figures in. Our health insurance is through my employer. The premiums are paid from my salary pre-tax directly to the insurance company. I was told that the premiums should be included in the med/dental expense on the form.
  • mathmomvtmathmomvt Posts: 4,170Registered User Senior Member
    The point is that the flexible spending account is just another way of paying some unreimbursed medical expenses with pre-tax dollars. It should fall into the same category as pre-tax insurance premiums, because it's another form of untaxed income being used for medical expenses.
  • memamamemama Posts: 115Registered User Junior Member
    We don't have a flexible spending account for medical, but I understand those who do can use them to buy over the counter meds and supplies such as band aids. Can these things be included as medical expenses on the Profile?
  • smileygerlsmileygerl Posts: 323Registered User Member
    When I called FAFSA...twice I was told pretax paid insurance premiums are not considered in medical expenses. The only medical expenses you can include are after tax insurance premiums and medical expenses not reimbursed by the insurance company. You can not include medical flex money paid out if the plan was funded by pretax dollars. I was told the only medical expenses that can be claimed are those which are reportable on Form 1040 schedule A line 1.
  • RadDad1RadDad1 Posts: 90Registered User Junior Member
    Mathmomvt -- I am trying to complete the CSS Profile also and have the exact same question. Did you ever find the correct answer from the Profile people? My insurance premiums and flexible spending account come to about 8% of AGI for us also, this will make a huge difference.
  • thumper1thumper1 Posts: 52,073Registered User Senior Member
    Can I include insurance premiums paid pre-tax?


    Can I include payments that were made from a flexible spending account, also funded with pre-tax dollars?


    Upstatemom, the policies for one school (Sarah Lawrence) might vary from others. BUT on the Profile, the answer is no to both of these (we asked this over and over as we had both issues...would have loved to include them as medical expenses..answer was NO.
  • lookingforwardlookingforward Posts: 18,575Registered User Senior Member
    Oh, dear.
    The instructions, from above: paid or expect to pay in 2010 for medical and dental expenses, including insurance premiums.

    Last year, I included what we paid for premiums with post-tax dollars AND actual medical expenses that happened to be covered by a small pre-tax flex acct. All these constitute what came out of our pocket for 2009 medical and dental expenses.

    This is where the CSS is blasted complicated. You have to second-guess what they are looking for.

    Since I generally trust Thumper's take, I just scooted around the net and found: pre-tax flex accounts are not included is because amounts diverted pre-tax to HSAs are not added back in to your income calculation. Thus, they have already been allowed to slightly reduce your income.

    For heaven's sake, how convoluted can this get?
  • upstatemomupstatemom Posts: 520Registered User Member
    Thanks for all the updates on the medical mystery. I know that in Paying for College without going broke, they said to YES include premiums. (maybe I read it wrong) Bottom line, I sent in the PROFILE with it included. When I challenged the Sarah Lawrence FAO on this point, she said gave me a fast answer why including the payments would not count as double-counting. Which was my point to her. This FAO comes to our high school every year to lead a FA workshop. She's been a FAO for 30 years. She's not infallible. (she told me that the first $2400 of unemployment was untaxed in 2010; not according to my accountant). But at this point, with our PROFILE in, it's a whatever.
  • lookingforwardlookingforward Posts: 18,575Registered User Senior Member
    Department of Education to make correction to 2011-12 FAFSA | Higher Ed Utah

    this tries to explain the $2400 issue. Note that when my friend called Fafsa help, she was told to exclude it. Told, last week.
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