An estimated 60 million Americans live in rural areas of the United States. How these Americans use the new insurance marketplaces could be the key to success (or failure) of the Affordable Care Act.
This is an issue our panelists will address on Thursday, Oct. 17, at 2 p.m. Eastern, when AHCJ hosts a webcast, “How will rural Americans tap into the insurance marketplaces?”
Each state is wrestling with issues related to enrollment in the health insurance marketplaces. For journalists in the 29 states that the federal government considers to be mostly rural, the issue of how many residents enroll will be particularly important to follow in the coming months.
Our panelists (Al Cross, director of the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues at the University of Kentucky; Jim Doyle, who covers the business of health care for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch; and Alan Morgan, CEO of the National Rural Health Association) will address this issue among others during the one-hour webcast. Reporters will have plenty of time to ask questions of the panelists.
We will hear, for example, how decisions by governors and legislatures to expand the Medicaid program will be disproportionately important to patients and to the economies of rural states.
Under the ACA, for example, half of all newly insured Americans will be covered by expansion of the Medicaid program, according to the National Rural Health Association. But when the U.S. Supreme Court allowed states to opt out of the requirement to expand Medicaid or to seek waivers, the decision left open the possibility that many of the uninsured in some states would go uncovered. Now, many rural states have opted out – at least so far – potentially leaving many Americans uninsured.
We may not know the full effect of each state’s decisions until coverage begins in January, but enrollment trends will undoubtedly be a significant story in all 50 states.
Here’s information on how AHCJ members can participate in the webcast.