Cotton Balls: FSA Eligibility
What are cotton balls?
Cotton has been cultivated for thousands of years for its use in clothing production and a wide variety of other household uses. The earliest cotton balls ever discovered were found in a cave in Tehuacán Valley, Mexico, which date back to approximately 4000-3600 BCE and showcase that this plant had been domesticated and grown for regular use and trade as a major commodity amongst civilizations for thousands of years before the modern era. The cotton ball, also known as a "boll", refers to the cream-colored fluffy fibers surrounding small cottonseeds that are separated from the stalks before they are spun in preparation for use in textile production and personal use (wiseGEEK).
Why are cotton balls ineligible for FSA/HSA/HRA reimbursement?
Cotton balls are fixtures in doctors' offices and hospital examination rooms and they can serve a wide variety of uses in a medical setting, but they are considered to be sundry items that have myriad applications but not a truly defined role as a medical product (Cigna). Other products that fall into this distinction include Q-tips, lotions & moisturizers, multi-vitamins and other products that have an arguable medical application, but are considered to be products used for general health purposes.