ACA linked to 8% increase in health coverage for rural Americans: 5 things to know

A recent HHS analysis reported the Affordable Care Act dramatically benefited residents in rural America through its Health Insurance Marketplace, tax credits that keep coverage affordable and other coverage reforms included in the law, like the elimination of exclusions based on pre-existing conditions. HHS also points out that rural Americans are disproportionately likely to live in states that have not expanded Medicaid.

Here are five key findings from the HHS's analysis:

1. Between late 2013 and early 2015, healthcare coverage in rural communities increased 8 percent and the number of rural Americans unable to pay for healthcare decreased 6 percent.

2. The number of rural Americans unable to access personal physicians decreased 3.4 percent, and the number unable to afford personal physicians dropped 5.9 percent.

3. Rural Americans experienced healthcare coverage gains similar to urban Americans, even though two thirds of rural Americans live in areas with no Medicaid expansion. Healthcare gains resulted from increased access to the marketplace, tax credits and the elimination of pre-existing conditions.

4. In 2016, 1.7 million rural Americans bought health insurance through the marketplace, representing 1 out of 5 of all plan purchases. This is an 11 percent increase from the previous year, and is greater than the increase in marketplace enrollment as a whole.

5.  Nine in 10 rural enrollees qualified for premium tax credits. On average, premiums increased by about 4 percent, or around $5 a month, between 2015 and 2016.

More articles on payer issues:
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