Health Reform: The Rural Uninsured
Though the greatest barrier to a healthy rural America, as well as the NRHA’s main health reform policy priority, is access to coverage, it would be a mistake to overlook the disproportionate number of uninsured or under-insured rural Americans.
Twenty-three percent of people living in the most remote rural areas are uninsured, compared to Nineteen percent in urban areas. The self-employed, for whom much of the health reform debate is focused, are uninsured at a greater percentage as well -- forty percent in rural, thirty-two percent in urban.
To improve rural America’s access to coverage, health reform efforts must provide guaranteed issue and renewability requirements, and prohibit pre-existing condition exclusions that make insurance to so many Americans, rural or urban, simply unavailable. The final health reform bill must also include oversight of insurance company rating practices, prohibit any sort of limits on benefits and place a cap on consumer cost sharing requirements.
For more information on the rural uninsured and the benefits health reform will bring to rural America, please click here.