U.S. Department of Defense Shares Statistics on Reproductive Health Care Travel Usage

Department of Defense’s New Reproductive Health Policies Provide Flexibility for Service Members and Families

Last year, the Department of Defense implemented two policies to help service members and eligible dependents access noncovered reproductive health care services. These policies provide allowances for travel and transportation to access such services in another location, as well as administrative absence from their regular duty station for up to 21 days without using leave.

According to Deputy Pentagon Press Secretary Sabrina Singh, these policies were used 12 times across the military services between June and December 2023, costing the department approximately $45,000. However, it’s important to note that this doesn’t necessarily mean that these were used by 12 distinct individuals – an individual could have utilized the policy more than once during that time frame.

The first policy allows service members and eligible dependents to receive travel and transportation allowances for noncovered reproductive health care services when such services are not available near their permanent duty station. This means that individuals can travel to access these services in another location and then return to their home station. The second policy allows service members to take administrative absence from their regular duty station for up to 21 days without using leave to receive or accompany a dual-military spouse or dependent receiving noncovered reproductive health care services.

Noncovered reproductive health care services covered under these policies include procedures like egg retrieval, ovarian stimulations, intrauterine insemination, in vitro fertilization, and noncovered abortion. Service members may have their travel costs paid for by the department to access these services, but they are responsible for covering the actual health care costs themselves. These policies aim to provide service members and their families with the time and flexibility needed to make private health care decisions and ensure access to noncovered reproductive health care services regardless of where they are stationed.

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