Rural-Urban Differences in Health Care Access Vary Across Measures


Higher uninsured rates and workforce shortages in rural areas suggest that rural residents face greater barriers to accessing healthcare than their urban counterparts. Analysis of the 2006 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey found mixed results. Rural residents were more likely than urban residents to have a usual source of healthcare (USC), particularly among the uninsured. Despite this, rural adults were somewhat less likely to receive certain preventive care services compared to urban adults. Additionally, rural residents were somewhat more likely to report long travel times to reach their USC and greater difficulty in reaching their provider after hours.

Maine Rural Health Research Center
Erika Ziller, Jennifer Lenardson