The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) Medicaid expansion program might already be having a noticeable effect on the finances of America’s poor.
A team of five researchers, including three at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, concluded in a paper released earlier this month that getting Medicaid expansion coverage cut the new enrollees’ average non-medical collection balance by about $600 to $1,000.
For the new enrollees who used the emergency room or were admitted to a hospital, the average balance fell by about $1,364 to $2,272, according to the paper, which was published behind a paywall on the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) website.
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“Health insurance, like any type of insurance, is first and foremost a form of financial protection,” study co-author Robert Kaestner of the University of Illinois at Chicago told the Washington Post in an interview. “It is a real benefit.”