Rural Health News

A Tale of Two Businesses

I recently returned from Montana, where intern Matt Gunther and I spent a lot of time driving. We called it a “storytelling roadtrip”. We traveled the requisite long distances in this majority-rural state to talk with and listen to people. Health care was a hot topic that we discussed from living room to living room, over coffee, and in the middle of the pasture. People laid out their lives and their hopes for reform.

Will Health Insurance Exchanges Be Worth the Wait?

Photo of Jane Yule
Jane Yule, nurse practitioner and rural health advocate. Source: Kat Shiffler
Jane Yule is a nurse practitioner working in rural Nebraska. I met Jane at a recent public meeting about health care exchanges – something she hopes will make a difference in the lives of her uninsured patients.

We learned that they’ll work similar to a farmers market: a neutral place where insurers lay out their plans and consumers shop and compare. The goal is universal access to high-quality, affordable insurance.

“As individuals we don’t have any leverage at all in terms of marketplace competition to get better rates,” she said. Jane is hoping the exchange will push down prices and give her patients some options. Often small businesses and the self-employed simply can’t afford the costs of private insurance.

New This Fall: Free Women’s Health Care Services

If you’re a woman, you probably pay more for health care than most men. Women visit their physicians on a more regular basis, but they’re also much less likely than men to have health insurance. The result? Almost half of all American women currently delay or avoid seeking needed care because of cost.

That is changing thanks to new measures in the Affordable Care Act. Beginning August 1, new or renewing insurance policies must provide eight women’s health services without co-payment, co-insurance, or a deductible. They include:

How I Bought Health Insurance Using HealthCare.gov

I’ve been talking to some of you on the phone lately, asking questions like: Have you or any of your family members ever been denied health insurance? What’s your coverage like? How have your rates changed over time?

We’re curious about real health care stories from rural America because they reveal the everyday reality behind the national health care debate. Today, I’ll share mine.

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