Tuesday, October 21, 2014

In Illinois and Missouri, rural residents less likely than urban ones to enroll in ACA; mistrust an issue

Misunderstanding and mistrust of federal health reform has caused rural residents in Missouri and Illinois to be less likely than their urban counterparts to enroll in coverage, Jordan Shapiro and Walter Moskop report for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Before Obamacare, 773,000 Missourians and about 1.6 million Illinoisans did not have health insurance at some point during 2013, says U.S. Census Bureau estimates. During the first enrollment period, 152,000 people in Missouri and 217,000 in Illinois signed up. Illinois expanded Medicaid coverage, while Missouri did not.

The Post-Dispatch, which did a study by zip code of private plan enrollments, found that in "Illinois, the lowest-income areas had the lowest rates of sign-ups for private insurance, although many residents likely qualified for Medicaid, the federal-state insurance program expanded under the health law," Shapiro and Moskop write." In Missouri, areas with higher uninsured rates saw a larger number of enrollments in private insurance since that was the only option available to them."

Ryan Barker, vice president of health policy at the Missouri Foundation for Health, told the Post-Dispatch, "There’s a lot of misunderstanding in the rural areas about what this is. There’s just a lot of mistrust and hatred of Obamacare.” (Read more)

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