Rural Health

We work with you to promote policy that makes health insurance affordable for small businesses, entrepreneurs and family farmers and ranchers and to ensure policy supports small town doctors, clinics and hospitals.

Rural people have less access to health networks and health care providers, greater rates of disability and chronic diseases, and higher use of all public health care programs. Because of high rates of self-employment and small business employment, rural Americans have lower rates of employer-provided benefits. We're more likely to be underinsured or uninsured for longer periods of time. The 50 million people in rural America are most in need of health care system reform. And we have much to contribute to any reform debate.

Health care is also a major barrier to rural economic development that creates genuine opportunity and reduces poverty. Micro-enterprise and small business development is the most effective path in many communities for low and moderate-income rural people to pull themselves out of poverty. But if small entrepreneurs cannot gain affordable access to health care for themselves or their employees, that path is blocked. Any hope of building genuine economic opportunity for struggling rural Americans through entrepreneurship must be accompanied by reforming the health care system in a way that benefits both small business owners and their employees.

For more information on how the Affordable Care Act will work for you, your business or your community visit this page.

Get Covered Calculator: Estimate Your Costs - calculate your estimated monthly health insurance cost.
Healthcare Exchange Calculator in Spanish - from the Kaiser Family Foundation website.

Rural Health Notes


Rural Rapport - Facebook Live

Join us each Tuesday at noon for our Facebook Live series, Rural Rapport. Each week, a Center staff member will share a resources and information on a range of topics. 

Can't watch it live? No problem. Watch anytime at

Here are the topics our staff have presented so far: 

Addressing Obesity in Nebraska’s Youth: Water Consumption in Schools

Due to the time young people spend there, schools are a natural location for proactive, cost-effective interventions to reduce obesity. Policy options to do so include more access to no-cost drinking water, education, promotion of water as a substitute for sugary beverages, and inclusion of water fountains and/or water bottle filling stations in new school buildings.

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Medicaid expansion enrollment begins Aug. 1

Nearly two years after voters approved a measure to expand Medicaid, Nebraskans will finally start to see the benefits take shape.

Enrollment will begin on Aug. 1. Eligible applicants must have an annual income at or below 138 percent of the federal poverty level, which is roughly $17,000 for an individual or $35,000 for a family of four. Additional circumstances, such as a health condition, dependents, or valuable assets, could alter eligibility.

COVID-19 pandemic displays importance of Medicaid expansion

Major crises often expose the weaknesses that have been in our system for a long time. 

Before the COVID-19 pandemic began putting substantial stress on the health care system, it was already under pressure. Hospitals and other medical facilities across the country have faced budget shortfalls, and the costs of health insurance and health care have been increasing significantly for years. This leaves uninsured individuals who cannot afford medical care out of pocket waiting until pain is unbearable before heading to the emergency room.

Health care in rural America—sacrificing to survive

Driving two hours for routine health care check-ups may seem absurd to most people, but for those living in small, rural communities throughout the U.S., this is their reality. With the nearest hospital potentially hundreds of miles away, those in rural communities do not receive equal access to quality medical treatment.