Navigating Reproductive Health Care for Military Families: A Look at the Department of Defense’s New Policies

Usage Numbers for Reproductive Health Care Travel Released by DOD

A recent policy implemented by the Department of Defense allows service members and their eligible dependents to travel and receive transportation allowances for noncovered 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 and return home.

Between June 2023 and December, the policy was used 12 times across all military branches at a total cost of approximately $45,000. 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.

Another policy introduced last year enables service members to be granted administrative absences from their regular 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 the cost of travel for accessing noncovered reproductive health care services, service members are responsible for paying for the actual healthcare costs. Singh emphasized that these policies aim to provide service members and their families with time and flexibility to make private health care decisions while ensuring they have access to noncovered reproductive health care services regardless of their duty station location.

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