July 30, 2014 — Senate Democrats on Wednesday introduced a bill that would require the military's health plan, TRICARE, to cover all FDA-approved contraceptives without copayments or other cost-sharing by beneficiaries, Politico reports. The bill also would require TRICARE to cover contraceptive counseling.
TRICARE covers nearly 10 million individuals, including service members, military retirees and their families.
Currently, active-duty servicewomen have access to prescription drugs, including contraceptives, without copays. However, women who are not on active duty and other women covered through TRICARE have varying levels of copays, depending on the type of contraceptive, according to Politico.
NARAL Pro-Choice America, the National Women's Law Center and the Planned Parenthood Action Fund support the legislation.
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), author of the bill, said in a statement, "Female service members deserve access to the same basic health care as the women they protect, and it's unacceptable that they don't." She added, "Giving women in the military access to basic preventative health care, including contraception and family planning services, will strengthen our military as a whole and make sure no woman in uniform ever has to worry about how she's going to pay for her contraception" (Haberkorn, Politico, 7/30).