Why Are Health Care Costs Increasing and Is There a Rural Differential in National Data?

Research center:
Lead researcher:
Project completed:
January 2006
This project determined whether growth in health insurance premiums and out-of-pocket spending differs in rural areas as compared to urban areas. Rising health care spending is an increasing concern to rural residents, employers, taxpayers, and legislators. Following a six-year period in which health care spending experienced an unprecedented lull in growth, total health care spending in the U.S. grew in 2000 and 2001.

The project was conducted in two phases. In the first phase, a concept document discusses the reasons for the rise in health care costs, and whether or not we would expect to find a rural differential. In the second phase, MEPS data over time were used to analyze medical care costs in urban and rural areas.


  • Why Are Health Care Expenditures Increasing and Is There a Rural Differential?
    Policy Brief
    RUPRI Center for Rural Health Policy Analysis
    Date: 11/2005
    Rising healthcare expenditures have disproportionately affected rural areas and in recent years seen higher increases in some expenditure categories, such as physician office-based visits and prescription drugs. Differences suggest strategies to contain health expenditure increases may be different in rural areas and determined on a local basis.