October 25, 2013 — Public health insurance programs in 2008 spent $12.5 billion on births resulting from unintended pregnancies, but that figure would have doubled -- exceeding $25 billion -- without publicly funded programs that provide family planning services, according to a new study from the Guttmacher Institute.
The study underscores the importance of Medicaid, the Children's Health Insurance Program and Indian Health Service in ensuring that women can access maternity care, according to the study's authors.
The findings also demonstrate the contrast between public expenditures on births from unintended pregnancies and intended pregnancies.
In total, 1.1 million of the two million publicly funded births in 2008 resulted from unintended pregnancies. By comparison, among the general population nationwide, about 1.7 million of 4.2 million births resulted from unintended pregnancies.
Examining data from states and Washington, D.C., the researchers found that in 15 jurisdictions, public programs covered at least 70% of all births resulting from unintended pregnancies. Almost all of these states were in the South, where poverty levels are higher than other areas.
Data source: "Public Costs from Unintended Pregnancies and the Role of Public Insurance Programs in Paying for Pregnancy and Infant Care: Estimates for 2008," Sonfield/Kost, Guttmacher Institute, October 2013.