New Policies Expand Access to Non-Covered Reproductive Health Care for Service Members and their Families

Usage Numbers for Reproductive Health Care Travel Released by DOD

The Department of Defense has recently implemented two policies that allow service members and their families to access noncovered reproductive health care services, even if those services are not readily available near their permanent duty station. Under the first policy, service members can travel to another state or overseas location to receive these services and then return home to their permanent duty station. Between June and December 2023, this policy was used 12 times across the military services at a total cost of approximately $45,000. However, it’s important to note that the use of this policy doesn’t necessarily mean 12 individuals used it as an individual may have used it multiple times.

The second policy allows service members to be granted administrative absences from their normal duty stations for up to 21 days, without using leave, to receive or accompany a dual-military spouse or dependent receiving noncovered reproductive health care services. These noncovered services include procedures like egg retrieval, ovarian stimulation, intrauterine insemination, in vitro fertilization, and noncovered abortions. While the Department of Defense covers travel costs for accessing these services, service members are responsible for paying for the actual health care services.

These policies aim to give service members and their families the time and flexibility to make private health care decisions and ensure access to noncovered reproductive health care services regardless of their duty station. Deputy Pentagon Press Secretary Sabrina Singh emphasized that these policies are designed to provide support for service members and their families in making difficult decisions about their reproductive health care options.

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