Fast Facts on Medicaid in Rural Communities

Americans living in rural communities face challenges that can make it difficult to access health care. Medicaid serves an important role by providing coverage for high-quality health services in rural areas. Below are some fast facts about the program’s impact on rural communities from the Modern Medicaid Alliance (MMA). Click here for a downloadable version of the fast facts.

  • Rural residents are more likely to report poorer physical and mental health – People in rural areas have higher rates of cigarette smoking, obesity, and physical inactivity. [i]
  • People living in rural areas face significant barriers to accessing care – Health care provider shortages, recent closures of rural hospitals, and long distances to health care sites make it difficult to access care. [i]
  • Medicaid plays an important role in providing coverage and reducing the number of uninsured Americans in rural areas – Rural areas with Medicaid expansion saw 5 percent faster growth of people covered, and the likelihood of being uninsured was cut in half compared to rural areas without Medicaid expansion. [i]
  • Medicaid provides needed coverage for primary care and other health services to millions – 23 percent of adults and 47 percent of children in rural areas are enrolled in Medicaid. [ii]
  • Medicaid delivers high-quality care to beneficiaries – Medicaid beneficiaries are more likely to report satisfaction with their care compared to those who are uninsured or those with private coverage. [iii]
  • Medicaid beneficiaries in rural areas have less medical debt compared to uninsured Americans – Beneficiaries can afford health care, making them less likely to delay needed treatments because they are worried about being able to afford it. [iii]
  • Medicaid financing helps rural hospitals and other health care sites provide care in rural communities – Together, Medicaid and Medicare account for more than half of rural hospital revenues. Medicaid alone supports nearly half of publicly provided mental health services. [iv]
  • Medicaid helps support jobs and generate income in local economies – Hospitals and the jobs Medicaid supports account for as much as 20 percent of local economies. [v]