The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act's medical loss ratio rule saved consumers in the individual market an estimated $2.1 billion last year — the bulk of it on lower premiums costs, new analysis finds.

The MLR provision, which took effect in 2011, requires insurance companies to spend no less than 80 percent to 85 percent of collected premiums on actual medical care.

The analysis out Thursday from the Kaiser Family Foundation found that premiums for individual health insurance would have been $1.9 billion higher in 2012 if the MLR provision had not been in effect.

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