The American Health Care Association / National Center for Assisted Living, American Seniors Housing Association, Argentum and LeadingAge are among the 50 organizations signing onto two letters urging senators and congresspeople to make permanent the 7.5% threshold for the medical expense tax deduction before the end of 2019 by co-sponsoring bipartisan legislation in their respective chambers.

The 7.5% threshold enables people to deduct from their taxes medical expenses that exceed 7.5% of their incomes. Without passage of H.R. 2073 and S.110, also called the Medical Expense Savings Act, the deduction threshold will be 10%, the AARP said. The AARP also signed the letter.

“We also ask you to support an extension of the 7.5 percent threshold in an end-of-year legislative package. Without action, 4.4 million Americans with high medical costs will face an unexpected tax increase when they file their returns in the coming months,” the Dec. 4 letters say.

Americans with high healthcare costs have been able to deduct medical expenses from their taxes for more than 75 years, according to the organizations. Many of those taking the deduction are older adults who use it to help offset the costs of assisted living, nursing homes and other long-term care expenses, the letters state. The AARP puts the number of people aged 65 or more years who use the deduction at more than 1.7 million.

“Taxes shouldn’t be going up for millions of Americans who are already sick or in need of long-term care,” Nancy LeaMond, chief advocacy and engagement officer for AARP, said in a blog post. Americans aged 85 or more years spent an average of $10,000 out-of-pocket, driven largely by long-term care costs, she said.

See copies of the letters to the Senate and House.