New Defense Department Policies Provide Service Members Access to Noncovered Reproductive Health Care Services

Usage Numbers for Reproductive Health Care Travel Released by DOD

The Department of Defense has implemented two policies that allow service members and eligible dependents to access noncovered reproductive health care services. The first policy, which was introduced last year, allows service members and their families to receive travel and transportation allowances to access these services if they are not readily available near their permanent duty station. This means that service members can travel to another state or overseas location to access these services before returning home.

Between June and December 2023, this policy was used 12 times across the military services at a total cost of approximately $45,000. However, Deputy Pentagon Press Secretary Sabrina Singh clarified that the use of the policy 12 times does not necessarily mean that 12 individuals used it as an individual may have used it multiple times.

The second policy implemented last year 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 noncovered reproductive health care services, service members are responsible for paying for the actual health care services themselves. Singh emphasized that 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.

In conclusion, these policies provide valuable resources for service members and their families seeking noncovered reproductive health care services. By allowing individuals the ability to travel outside of their permanent duty station or take administrative absences from work, these policies give them more control over their own bodies while still maintaining flexibility in terms of scheduling and financial responsibility.

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