Principal Investigator
Emily Gallagher

Russell Sage Foundation; Annie E. Casey Foundation; JP Morgan Foundation; Smith Richardson Foundation; the Ford Foundation; a tax preparation company that wishes to remain anonymous

Collaboration + support
The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; Washington University in St. Louis; Diego Portales University in Chile

Access to Medicaid can boost a family’s savings, potentially offering new paths out of poverty, according to research from CU Boulder’s Leeds School of Business.

Emily Gallagher, assistant professor of finance, and two co-authors scoured data and survey results from 57,000 low-income families using the IRS’ free-file program. Families with access to Medicaid were able to save $102 more on their refund, on average, than similar families without access to Medicaid.

While that may not sound like much, Gallagher said those savings could be an important buffer, enabling low-income families to seek medical care without breaking the bank. It also creates an incentive to save by alleviating the specter of major uninsured medical bills.