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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.

Missouri Health Premiums Below National Average


Missouri families pay close to twenty percent of income on health insurance premiums. If that sounds like a lot, stay away from Mississippi. Families in that state pay the highest percentage of their income toward health insurance: 28 percent. This, according to a new study by the Commonwealth Fund.

The data is for employer-sponsored health insurance. The average Missouri family paid $12,574 in premiums in 2010. That's up 42 percent since 2003. But in Missouri, premiums are lower than the national average ($13,871) and rising more slowly than the national rate (50 percent rise since 2003).

And it's not just higher premiums. More plans have deductibles, and those deductibles are rising fast too. They've gone up 133 percent since 2003 in Missouiri. Three-quarters of us now have plans with dedcutibles.

If costs continue to rise at the rate we've seen, Missouri families will pay nearly $22,000 a year in premiums by the end of the decade.

That's the bad news.

The good news is that the Affordable Care Act may be able to "bend the cost curve," saving families as much as 1.5 percent. By 2020, Missourians would only be paying $19,000 a year. 

Another recent report found premiums rose 9 percent last year, hitting a record high nationally.