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KBIA’s Health & Wealth Desk covers the economy and health of rural and underserved communities in Missouri and beyond. The team produces a weekly radio segment, as well as in-depth features and regular blog posts. The reporting desk is funded by a grant from the University of Missouri, and the Missouri Foundation for Health.Contact the Health & Wealth desk.

Report Says Health Reform Will Provide Financial Boost

Affordable Care Act
President Obama signs the Affordable Care Act, March 23, 2010.

In 2019, the average Missouri family will be $1,471 richer. That’s how much the average family will save on health care each year once Obama’s reform law takes full effect, according to a new study by Families USA, a pro-reform group. 

Those currently insured will pay $706 less on premiums, and they will also save money on out-0f-pocket costs, since the law will limit caps on coverage and provide subsidies to low-income families. Those currently without insurance will get even more help: $3,890 on average.

Of course, opponents of so-called “Obamacare” aren’t convinced. Michael Tanner, a senior fellow with the conservative Cato Institute, says these kinds of claims of savings are based on overly rosy assumptions that have not held true so far.

“We know that as of right now, insurance premiums are rising, and in fact rising more rapidly as a result of the act,” he said.

Health insurance premiums are up 9 percent this year, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. Of that rise, one to two percentage points can be attributed to health care reform provisions already in place.

The Families USA study was conducted by MIT professor Jonathan Gruber, using economic modeling based on census data. Missouri was one of the first eight states looked at so far.