Rural Health

We work with you to promote policy that makes health insurance affordable for small businesses, entrepreneurs and family farmers and ranchers and to ensure policy supports small town doctors, clinics and hospitals.

Rural people have less access to health networks and health care providers, greater rates of disability and chronic diseases, and higher use of all public health care programs. Because of high rates of self-employment and small business employment, rural Americans have lower rates of employer-provided benefits. We're more likely to be underinsured or uninsured for longer periods of time. The 50 million people in rural America are most in need of health care system reform. And we have much to contribute to any reform debate.

Health care is also a major barrier to rural economic development that creates genuine opportunity and reduces poverty. Micro-enterprise and small business development is the most effective path in many communities for low and moderate-income rural people to pull themselves out of poverty. But if small entrepreneurs cannot gain affordable access to health care for themselves or their employees, that path is blocked. Any hope of building genuine economic opportunity for struggling rural Americans through entrepreneurship must be accompanied by reforming the health care system in a way that benefits both small business owners and their employees.

For more information on how the Affordable Care Act will work for you, your business or your community visit this page.

Get Covered Calculator: Estimate Your Costs - calculate your estimated monthly health insurance cost.
Healthcare Exchange Calculator in Spanish - from the Kaiser Family Foundation website.

Confused about health care options? Get a Health Care 101 here

Rural Health Notes

 

LB 1032 - The Transitional Health Insurance Program Act

LB 1032 - The Transitional Health Insurance Program Act

What’s the Problem?
Everyone needs health coverage to see a doctor when they get sick or injured. But right now, about 97,000 Nebraskans have no way to get affordable health insurance. They make too little money to afford private insurance, but they also don’t qualify for Medicaid. These people are stuck with no solution in what we call “the coverage gap.”


LB 1032 is a solution that closes this coverage gap

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Dollars and Sense of Health Care Access in Nebraska

Nebraska is one of 17 states not adopting Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act. This has left more than 79,000 individuals in a “coverage gap.”

Each individual covered through an expanded Medicaid program could save $1,100 on out-of-pocket health costs each year. When spent locally, these savings lead to 800 potential new jobs, $32 million in additional income, and $4.9 million in state and local tax revenues.

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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.