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

Last year, a policy was implemented that 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 the member’s permanent duty station. This means that individuals can travel to access these services in another location and then return to their home station. The Deputy Pentagon Press Secretary, Sabrina Singh, mentioned during a briefing that the policy was used 12 times across the military services between June and December 2023, costing the department about $45,000.

Singh clarified that while the policy was used 12 times, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it was used by 12 distinct individuals. An individual could have utilized the policy more than once during that time frame. Another policy implemented last year 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.

Under these policies, noncovered reproductive health care services 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.

By Sophia Gonzalez

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