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

In 2023, the Department of Defense implemented two policies to provide service members and their families with access to noncovered reproductive health care services. One policy allows individuals to receive travel and transportation allowances for such services when they are not available near their permanent duty station. This policy was used 12 times across the military services between June and December, costing the department about $45,000.

Another 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. This policy aims to provide service members 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.

The Deputy Pentagon Press Secretary, Sabrina Singh, clarified during a briefing 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. 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.

By Samantha Johnson

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