Demand for Medical Services Among Previously Uninsured Children: The Role of Rurality

Research center:
Lead researcher:
Project completed:
May 2002

Under the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, Congress provided health insurance to low income, uninsured children through the State Children's Health Insurance Program (S-CHIP). An issue of concern to policy makers was whether this funding would release pent-up demand, leading to increases in utilization, or whether utilization could be predicted from prior utilization. Clarification of the dual roles of minority status and rurality in determining demand for services is essential when estimating the effects of expansion of health insurance programs to previously uninsured children. This study will employ data from two rural states with sharply different low income rural populations (South Carolina and West Virginia). The intent is to determine whether rural utilization differs from urban utilization and whether minority children benefit equally from S-CHIP funding.