New Defense Department Policies Expand Access to Reproductive Health Care for Service Members and Families

By Eleanor Harrison Mar27,2024
Usage Numbers for Reproductive Health Care Travel Released by DOD

The Department of Defense has recently implemented two policies aimed at ensuring that service members and their families have access to noncovered reproductive health care services, regardless of their duty station. These policies include the provision of travel and transportation allowances for service members to access these services, as well as the granting of administrative absences for up to 21 days without using leave.

Between June and December 2023, the policy allowing for travel and transportation allowances was used 12 times across the military services, with a total cost of approximately $45,000. However, it is important to note that this does not necessarily mean that 12 individuals used the policy, 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, in order to receive or accompany a dual-military spouse or dependent receiving noncovered reproductive health care services. These noncovered services include procedures such as egg retrieval, ovarian stimulation, intrauterine insemination, in vitro fertilization, and noncovered abortions.

While the Department of Defense covers travel costs for accessing these noncovered services, service members are responsible for paying for the actual health care services. Deputy Pentagon Press Secretary Sabrina 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.

By Eleanor Harrison

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