(January 2015) More than 200 million women in developing countries who want to avoid or delay pregnancy are not using family planning. These women have an unmet need that can result in unintended pregnancies, unsafe abortions, poor health, and strains on families and economies. Improving access to voluntary family planning could mitigate these challenges and lead to a host of other benefits. The post-2015 focus on universal health coverage in low- and middle-income countries and growing evidence that health insurance programs can enhance access to health services offer an opportunity to help fill the gap in unmet need by including family planning in health insurance benefits packages.
This policy brief discusses the benefits of family planning and how insurance programs can be designed to increase demand for and uptake of family planning services, as well as to improve their quality and equitable provision.
Reshma Naik is a senior policy analyst at the Population Reference Bureau. Lindsay Morgan is a former senior health analyst at Broad Branch Associates (BBA); and Jenna Wright is a senior health analyst at BBA.