Infertility and the Military

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Infertility Care for Military Personnel

Published November 2011. Updated November 2015.

If you are in the military or your spouse is, you need to know what your options are for treatment for your infertility.  First, know what is covered! You have the following options for receiving care such as an IUI or IVF procedure:

  • Receive treatment at one of the Military Treatment Facilities (MTF) listed below.  You will still need to pay out-of-pocket but the cost is less compared to the same services at a non-military clinic.
  • Use your Tricare insurance coverage for medical care outside of a MTF, however, Tricare does not cover IVF or IUI’s, and may have limited coverage for other procedures.   Check your plan first and talk to Tricare to get all the facts. And, if you are denied coverage, write a letter and appeal. Most insurance plans are not counting on you to appeal and you may get the coverage determination reversed.
  • Pay out of pocket at a non-military clinic but ask the clinic about military discounts, drug discounts, and payment plans. Many clinics today are offering military discounts and can share with you information on discounts for your medications.  Also, some clinics are contracted with Tricare to provide services via the Tricare insurance plan.

From the Tricare website: Infertility Treatment

TRICARE may cover the following types of infertility testing and treatment.

  • Diagnostic services to identify physical illnesses or injuries to the reproductive system are covered for both men and women. Infertility treatments, corrective treatments and surgeries for women are also covered. However, correction of male infertility may be cost shared, which is determined on a case-by-case basis.
  • Therapies covered by TRICARE include hormonal treatment, corrective surgery, antibiotics, administration of human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) or radiation therapy depending on the cause. These therapies are covered for both sexes.
  • TRICARE also provides medically necessary appropriate medical care for erectile dysfunction due to organic, vice psychological or psychiatric, causes.

Exclusions:

  • In-vitro fertilization (IVF) for women (see note below)
  • Reversal of surgical sterilization is not covered for either sex.

A note about IVF: While TRICARE does not cover IVF, there are military treatment facilities (MTFs) where IVF medical training programs are conducted. Beneficiaries who participate in these programs will be responsible for all MTF costs.

Military Treatment Facilities offering IVF procedures:

Articles:

Resources:

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Take Action:

Reproductive Treatment for Certain Disabled Veterans, H.R. 2257:
Introduced on May 13, 2015 by Chairman Jeff Miller, HR 2257 will lift the ban on offering in vitro fertilization (IVF) by the Veterans Administration to certain disabled veterans with a service-related injury that has caused infertility. The bill extends the treatment to spouses if needed. IVF coverage is already being offered to active duty wounded service members therefore this bill fixes the inequity in care when those service-members move to the VA health system. Learn more about this legislation here. 

Women Veterans and Families Health Services Act of 2015 S 469 and H.R. 3365:
On February 11, 2015, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) introduced the Women Veterans and Families Health Services Act of 2015, S 469. The bill will allow the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Department of Defense (DoD) to provide reproductive services, such as in vitro fertilization (IVF), to service members, veterans, and their families who have suffered catastrophic wounds of war that prevent them from starting families. The Women Veterans and Families Health Services Act of 2015 would expand the current fertility services offered to service members and their families by DoD, and end the ban on in vitro fertilization services at the VA. On July 29, 2015, U.S. Representative Rick Larsen (D-WA2), a member of the House Committee on Armed Services, introduced the Women Veterans and Families Health Services Act of 2015 H.R. 3365. This bill is a companion bill to S 469. This bill has been referred to the House Subcommittee on Health. Learn more about this legislation here.

Read personal stories from military infertility community.