Health Care Access and Use Among the Rural Uninsured [Article]

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MRHRC, Access/Insurance, Adolescent, Adult, Ambulatory Care, Child, Preschool, Drug Prescriptions, Female, Health Care Surveys, Health Services Accessibility, Humans, Infant, Newborn, Male, Medically Uninsured, Middle Aged, Rural Health Services, Rural Population, United States, Young Adult, MRHRC, USM Aging Initiative, Health and Wellness, Economics

Publication Title

Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved


The uninsured have poorer access to care and obtain care at greater acuity than those with health insurance; however, the differential impact of being uninsured in rural versus urban areas is largely unknown. Using data from the 2002-2007 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, we examine whether uninsured rural residents have different patterns of health care use than their urban counterparts, and the factors associated with any differences. We find that being uninsured leads to poorer access in both rural and urban areas, yet the rural uninsured are more likely to have a usual source of care and use services than their urban counterparts. Further, controlling for demographic and health characteristics, the access and use differences between the uninsured and insured in rural areas are smaller than those observed in urban areas. This suggests that rural providers may impose fewer barriers on the uninsured who seek care than providers in urban areas.