Introduction: Despite the many contraceptive options available in the United States, nearly half (49%) of the 6.4 million pregnancies each year are unintended; these represent a significant cost to the health care system.
Methods: The total number of unintended pregnancies and their outcomes were obtained from the literature. Direct medical costs were estimated for each unintended pregnancy outcome.
Results: The direct medical costs of unintended pregnancies were US$5 billion in 2002. Direct medical cost savings due to contraceptive use were US$19 billion.
Discussion: Unintended pregnancies are a costly problem in the United States. Contraceptive use can reduce direct and indirect costs; hence, payers may realize cost savings by providing coverage of contraceptive products.