Public Costs from Unintended Pregnancies and the Role of Public Insurance Programs in Paying for Pregnancy-Related Care: National and State Estimates for 2010
U.S. government expenditures on births, abortions and miscarriages resulting from unintended pregnancies nationwide totaled $21 billion in 2010. In 19 states, public expenditures related to unintended pregnancies exceeded $400 million in 2010. Texas spent the most ($2.9 billion), followed by California ($1.8 billion), New York ($1.5 billion) and Florida ($1.3 billion); those four states are also the nation’s most populous.
• Nationally, 51% of all U.S. births in 2010 were paid for by public insurance through Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program and the Indian Health Service.
• Public insurance programs paid for 68% of the 1.5 million unplanned births that year, compared with 38% of planned births.
• Two million births were publicly funded in 2010; of those, about half—one million—were unplanned. A publicly funded birth in 2010 cost an average of $12,770 in prenatal care, labor and delivery, postpartum care and 12 months of infant care; when 60 months of care are included, the cost per birth increases to $20,716.
• Government expenditures on the births, abortions and miscarriages resulting from unintended pregnancies nationwide totaled $21.0 billion in 2010; that amounts to 51% of the $40.8 billion spent for all publicly funded pregnancies that year.
• To put these figures in perspective, in 2010, the federal and state governments together spent an average of $336 on unintended pregnancies for every woman aged 15–44 in the country.
• In the absence of the current U.S. publicly funded family planning effort, the public costs of unintended pregnancies in 2010 might have been 75% higher.
• The total gross potential savings from averting all unintended pregnancies in 2010 would have been $15.5 billion. This is less than the total public cost of all unintended pregnancies, because even if all women had been able to time their pregnancies as they wanted, some of the resulting births still would have been publicly funded. These potential savings do not account for the public investment in family planning services and other interventions that might be required to achieve them.