Reproductive Health Care Policies Allow Service Members Access to Noncovered Services, Despite High Costs

Usage Numbers for Reproductive Health Care Travel Released by DOD

The Department of Defense has implemented two policies to ensure that service members and eligible dependents have access to noncovered reproductive health care services, even if those services are not readily available near their permanent duty station. These policies allow service members to travel to another state or overseas location to access these services and then return home to their permanent duty station.

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

Another 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. 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.

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