June 15, 2024

Flexibility and Support: The Department of Defense’s New Policies for Service Members’ Reproductive Health Care Needs

1 min read
Usage Numbers for Reproductive Health Care Travel Released by DOD

The Department of Defense has implemented two policies to support the reproductive health care needs of service members and their families. The first policy, introduced last year, allows eligible individuals to receive travel and transportation allowances to access non-covered reproductive health care services if those services 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, the 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 this does not necessarily mean 12 individuals used it, as an individual may have used the policy 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 non-covered reproductive health care services. These non-covered services include procedures like egg retrieval, ovarian stimulation, intrauterine insemination, in vitro fertilization, and non-covered abortions.

While the Department of Defense covers travel costs for accessing non-covered reproductive health care services, service members are responsible for paying for the actual health care services. 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 non-covered reproductive health care services regardless of their duty station.

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