Health Care in Rural America

Health care in rural communities has many aspects – access to physicians, dentists, nurses, and mental health services; the financial circumstances of rural hospitals; federal rules concerning Medicare reimbursement rates and the impact on rural hospitals and healthcare professionals; and the consequences of all of these on the health of rural people.

Rural residents are more likely to be uninsured than non-rural residents. Residents of remote rural areas are also more likely to be uninsured for longer periods of time – their chances of being uninsured for an entire year are a third greater than residents of urban counties.

The ultimate health status of rural people has much to do with health insurance coverage and the type of health insurance coverage. For example, there is evidence that rural people with employer-provided health insurance obtained more health care services than those with privately-purchased health insurance. Insurance that provided better coverage at lower cost, therefore, resulted in more – and presumably more regular and better – health care services.

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