Friday, June 10, 2016

Rural health coverage expands 8% under ACA; 2/3 of rural uninsured in states not expanding Medicaid

Health coverage expanded by 8 percent in rural areas from 2013 to 2015, reflecting many state's expansion of Medciaid in 2014 under federal health reform, says a report released today by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. At the same time "the share of rural Americans unable to afford needed care dropped by almost 6 percentage points." Nineteen states, which have nearly two-thirds of the rural uninsured, have not expanded Medicaid. (HHS graphic)
"Despite being disproportionately likely to live in states that have not expanded Medicaid, rural Americans have seen coverage gains under the Affordable Care Act on par with residents of cities because they have benefited from the Health Insurance Marketplace and tax credits that keep coverage affordable, from other coverage reforms such as the elimination of exclusions based on pre-existing conditions," says HHS. In states using the marketplace or exchange, 1.7 million rural Americans bought coverage through the marketplace for 2016, an 11 percent increase from 2015.

"For the almost nine in 10 rural consumers who are eligible for premium tax credits, the average premium increased only 4 percent, or $5 per month, between 2015 and 2016, despite headlines suggesting double-digit increases," says HHS. "Among rural individuals, the share without access to a personal physician dropped 3.4 percentage points, and the share unable to afford needed care dropped 5.9 percentage points." (Read more)

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