Medicaid Expansion Under the Affordable Care Act and Insurance Coverage in Rural and Urban Areas

Purpose: To analyze the differential rural-urban impacts of the Affordable Care Act Medicaid expansion on low-income childless adults’ health insurance coverage. Methods: Using data from the American Community Survey years 2011- 2015, we conducted a difference-in-differences regression analysis to test for changes in the probability of low-income childless adults having insurance in states that expanded Medicaid versus states that did not expand, after versus before the expansion, in rural versus urban areas. Analyses employed survey weights, adjusted for covariates, and included a set of falsification tests as well as sensitivity analyses. Findings: Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act increased the probability of Medicaid coverage for targeted populations in rural and urban areas, with a significantly greater increase in rural areas (p<.05), but some of these gains were offset by reductions in individual purchased insurance among rural populations (p<.01). Falsification tests showed that the insurance increases were specific to low-income childless adults, as expected, and were largely insignificant for other populations. Conclusions: The Medicaid expansion increased the probability of having “any insurance” for the pooled urban and rural low-income populations, and specifically increased Medicaid coverage more in rural versus urban populations. There was some evidence that the expansion was accompanied by some shifting from individual purchased insurance to Medicaid in rural areas, and there is a need for future work to understand the implications of this shift on expenditures, access to care and utilization.

Publication Date:
Jan 23 2017
Date Submitted:
Nov 30 2018
The Journal of Rural Health: Official Journal of the American Rural Health Association and the National Rural Health Care Association

 Record created 2018-11-30, last modified 2019-04-03

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