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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

WashU, Iowa: Rural Enrollment in Health Marketplaces Keeping Pace with Urban Areas in All U.S. Regions except the South

Rural enrollment rates in the government’s Health Insurance Marketplaces (HIMs) is similar to those in urban areas in most regions of the United States, according to new research from the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis and the University of Iowa College of Public Health.

[Photo: Dr. Abigail Barker]

Enrollment in rural areas lags behind urban areas in the South, researchers reported in a brief published in July by the Rural Policy Research Institute (RUPRI) Center for Rural Health Policy Analysis.

Locations with low population density and those with few companies participating in the marketplaces were also more likely to experience low enrollment in the marketplaces, which were created by the Affordable Care Act.

“Overall, the HIM structure is functioning as intended,” wrote the brief’s lead author, Dr. Abigail Barker of Washington University.  “Our findings reinforce the notion that there is no single, definitive rural outcome of HIMs at this time: that is, although there are areas of concern, enrollment is generally robust in many rural areas.”

Co-authors were the Brown School’s Dr. Timothy McBride, professor, and Leah M. Kemper; and Dr. Keith J. Mueller, professor at the University of Iowa.

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