Department of Defense Announces New Policies For Accessing Non-Covered Reproductive Health Care
The Department of Defense has announced a new set of policies allowing service members to access non-covered reproductive health care services. This includes granting administrative absence for up to three weeks for service members to access, or to accompany a dual-military spouse or a dependent to access, non-covered reproductive health care. Additionally, travel and transportation allowances will be authorized for service members and dependents to travel to access non-covered reproductive health care. The policies will go into effect within 30 days of the announcement.
The policy for command notification of pregnancy provides service members the time and flexibility to make private health care decisions while accounting for the responsibility placed on commanders to meet operational requirements and protect the health and safety of those in their care. This policy sets the time period in which service members must inform their commanders of their pregnancy, usually giving them until the twentieth week of pregnancy to do so, with a few exceptions for certain military tasks, health hazards, and medical issues.
The policy also encourages troops to see a health care provider no later than 12 weeks into the pregnancy. Commanders are not authorized to try to delay approval by, for example, requiring service members to speak with a chaplain or submit to medical testing before approving leave. They are also forbidden from requiring service members to comply with additional requirements, such as religious consultations, medical testing, or other forms of counseling.
These policies will ensure that service members and their families are afforded time and flexibility to make private health care decisions and will also ensure service members can access non-covered reproductive health care regardless of where they are stationed. This will help ensure the department is able to recruit, retain and maintain the readiness of a highly qualified force.
0. “Ensuring Access to Reproductive Health Care” Health.mil, 16 Feb. 2023, https://www.health.mil/News/In-the-Spotlight/Ensuring-Access-to-Reproductive-Health-Care
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