Associations between unfulfilled contraceptive preferences due to cost and low-income patients’ access to and experiences of contraceptive care in the United States, 2015–2019

Elsevier, Contraception: X, Volume 4, January 2022
Kavanaugh M.L., Pliskin E., Hussain R.

Objective: To identify prevalence of unfulfilled contraceptive preferences due to cost among low-income United States female contraceptive method users and nonusers, and associations between access to, and experience with, contraceptive care and this outcome. Methods: We drew on data from the 2015–2019 National Surveys of Family Growth to conduct simple and multivariable logistic regression analyses on unfulfilled contraceptive preferences due to cost among nationally representative samples of low-income women ages 15 to 49 who were current contraceptive users (N = 3178) and nonusers (N = 1073). Results: Overall, 23% of female contraceptive users reported they would use a different method, and 39% of nonusers reported they would start using a method, if cost were not an issue. Controlling for user characteristics, low-income contraceptive users who received recent publicly supported contraceptive care reported significantly higher levels of unfulfilled contraceptive preferences due to cost than those without any access to SRH care (aOR = 1.6, CI 1.0–2.5), while having private (aOR = 0.6, CI 0.4–0.9) or public (aOR = 0.7, CI 0.5–1.0) health insurance was associated with significantly lower levels of this outcome. Nonusers of contraception who had recently received publicly supported contraceptive care also reported marginally higher levels of this outcome (aOR = 2.2, CI 1.0–5.1). Contraceptive users who received recent person-centered contraceptive counseling had marginally lower odds of unfulfilled contraceptive preferences due to cost (aOR = 0.6, CI 0.4–1.0). Conclusions: Cost is a barrier to using preferred contraception for both contraceptive users and nonusers; health insurance coverage and person-centered contraceptive counseling may help contraceptive users to overcome cost barriers and realize their contraceptive preferences. Implications: Factors related to contraceptive access at the systems level—specifically the subsidization and experience of contraceptive care—impact whether cost serves as a barrier to individuals’ contraceptive preferences. Delivery of patient-centered care and shoring up health insurance coverage for all can help to mitigate cost barriers and enable individuals to realize their contraceptive preferences.