Document Type

Policy Brief

Publication Date



MRHRC, Access, health insurance, rural, usual source of care, travel time


Rural uninsured rates are higher than urban,1 and the uninsured often have difficulty obtaining needed care.2 Difficulties recruiting and retaining health care providers have resulted in longstanding disparities in rural and urban physician supply.3 This combination of factors suggests that rural residents may face greater barriers to accessing health care than their urban counterparts. Analyses of data from the 2006 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) for non-elderly rural and urban residents partly supports this premise, yet rural residents fare better on some measures of access.

Funding Organization or Grant

Supported by the federal Office of Rural Health Policy, Health Resources and Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, CA#U1CRH03716