Document Type

Policy Brief

Publication Date



MRHRC, uninsured, rural, children, data


Following the implementation of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), rural health researchers noted that this public insurance expansion had the potential to dramatically improve health insurance coverage for rural children.1 At the time, rural children were more likely than their urban counterparts to be uninsured, and also were more likely to have family incomes in the range targeted by SCHIP (100- 200% of Federal Poverty Level-FPL).2

This brief uses the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) to compare the health insurance coverage of rural and urban residents in 1997 and 2005 to assess how uninsured rates and sources of coverage have changed since SCHIP was enacted.* We also discuss the characteristics of the rural uninsured and the implications for health insurance reform. Rural is defined as living in a non-metropolitan county, as designated by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). All presented results are statistically significant at p. ≤ .05.

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