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 generally not used for medical purposes, and therefore ineligible for reimbursement with a consumer directed healthcare account. However, cotton balls are fixtures in doctors' offices and hospital examination rooms and they can serve a wide variety of uses in a medical setting. In limited circumstances, cotton balls may be eligible with a Letter of Medical Necessity (LMN) from a medical professional.