Rural Health News

Rural Behavioral and Mental Health Still Overlooked

In 2009 I co-authored a Center for Rural Affairs’ report detailing the critical, but overlooked, need for mental and behavioral health services in rural areas.

The report tied inadequate rural mental and behavioral health care services to a lack of affordable, meaningful health insurance coverage. It concluded this “problem must be addressed for prosperous rural families, economies and communities.”

Despite adoption of the Affordable Care Act in 2010, rural America still lacks mental and behavioral health services. Rural residents have a higher percentage of all categories of mental illnesses, from a serious mental illness to psychological distress to major depression. Nearly one-in-five rural residents experience some mental illness.

How Does Health Insurance Affect Farmers and Ranchers?

That's a question a team of researchers and extension specialists are asking farmers and ranchers in 10 states. Team members are seeking 120 farmers and ranchers to interview about the unique health insurance needs of farm families.

If you are a farmer or rancher in Washington, California, Utah, Nebraska, Michigan, Kentucky, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, Vermont, or Massachusetts, you could participate in this paid research study and help shape rural health policy.

Health Insurance Coverage Gap Remains

The Transitional Health Insurance Program, LB 1032, failed to pass this year. But that doesn’t change the fact that nearly 100,000 Nebraskans still do not have a solution.

Almost 100,000 of our friends, neighbors, coworkers, and family members go without health insurance because they make too much to qualify for Medicaid, and too little to qualify for assistance to purchase health insurance through the exchange. Those that have health insurance pay more because so many go without.

Cost Matters When it Comes to Health Insurance

At the Center for Rural Affairs, we often talk about the financial consequences of Medicaid expansion from the perspective of the greater community. We focus on savings to hospitals, businesses, and state and local budgets. But how does it affect the bank account of those paying the bills?

Board member Carol Schooley wanted to make sure she understood this side of the equation before showing her support for a bill to expand Medicaid in Nebraska. She asked us to break down the numbers and show our work. The results are below.

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