Senate Bill Would Ensure All Military Servicewomen and Dependents Have Equal Access to Contraceptive Coverage, Family Planning Counseling

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Sen. Shaheen and more than a dozen other Senators sponsor new legislation to extend comprehensive reproductive health-care coverage to non-active duty servicewomen, military dependents
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(PRESS RELEASE) New federal legislation was introduced today in the U.S. Senate that would guarantee all women who rely on the military for their health care—including active and non-active duty servicemembers and dependents—comprehensive coverage for contraceptives and family-planning counseling.

The “Access to Contraception for Women Servicemembers and Dependents Act of 2014” would bring the military’s health program, also known as TRICARE, in line with contraceptive coverage required in most health insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act. Under the proposed legislation, the nearly five million women eligible for TRICARE would have the same birth control coverage as federal employees.

The bill, which was introduced today by Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and more than a dozen other Senators, would also ensure that women who depend on TRICARE for health coverage receive comprehensive family-planning counseling and improve access to emergency contraception for servicewomen who have been sexually assaulted.

Said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights:

“Every woman, including the women who have bravely committed their lives to serving in the military, deserve equal and affordable access to health care coverage for themselves and their families.

“With the vast majority of servicewomen being of reproductive age, the benefits of expanding coverage of contraception and family planning services for those who rely on the military for their health care couldn’t be clearer.”

Women represent 16 percent of all active duty and reserve members of the military, with 97 percent of reproductive age. Currently, active-duty military have no cost-sharing for any prescriptions, while non-active-duty military dependents must pay cost-sharing for birth control acquired outside a military treatment facility.

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