Exploring the Department of Defense’s New Policies for Access to Reproductive Health Care Services for Service Members and Dependents

Usage Numbers for Reproductive Health Care Travel Released by DOD

The Department of Defense implemented two policies last year to ensure that service members and their eligible dependents have access to noncovered reproductive health care services. These policies allow service members to travel and receive transportation allowances, even if the services are not readily available near their permanent duty station. Additionally, service members can be granted administrative absences 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 policies were used 12 times between June and December 2023, with a total cost of approximately $45,000. However, Deputy Pentagon Press Secretary Sabrina Singh clarified that this does not necessarily mean 12 individuals used the policy, as an individual may have used it multiple times.

The Department of Defense covers travel costs for accessing noncovered reproductive health care services, but 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 noncovered reproductive health care services regardless of their duty station.

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