U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen seeks to expand contraceptive coverage for military servicewomen, family members
A bill introduced yesterday by U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen seeks to expand contraception coverage for those who served in the military and their relatives.
The Access to Contraception for Women Servicemembers and Dependents Act would, among other things, eliminate cost-sharing for pregnancy prevention methods through the military’s TRICARE insurance program and require that military treatment facilities maintain a “sufficient stock of a broad range” of FDA-approved contraception methods. It would also streamline and update military medical providers’ practice guidelines related to contraceptives.
According to the bill, “servicewomen not on active duty, and female dependents of members of the Armed Forces, who receive health care through the TRICARE program do not have similar coverage of all prescription methods of contraception approved by the Food and Drug Administration without cost-sharing.”
In a letter co-signed by three dozen organizations – including Planned Parenthood Federation of America and Service Women’s Action Network – supporters commended Shaheen’s effort to expand access to eliminate cost-sharing emergency contraception, particularly for those who have been sexually assaulted.
Women’s issues, including contraceptive access, have become a central part of Shaheen’s re-election campaign. A spokesman for Shaheen said the senator was unavailable for an interview yesterday and instead provided a statement via email.
“As a matter of fairness, I believe women who receive health care through the military deserve the same health care benefits as civilian women,” Shaheen said in the statement. “I introduced this bill because servicewomen ought to have access to a full range of contraception coverage and family planning counseling.”
(Casey McDermott can be reached at 369-3306 or firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @caseymcdermott.)