High-Deductible Plans More Common

[imgbelt img=Screen_Shot01.jpg]Rural residents’ reliance on high-deductible health insurance may discourage them to get medical care. A Southern Maine University study also shows people with high-deductible plans are less likely to be able to afford prescription medications.

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a new study has found.

Using data from the 2007-2010 National Health Interview Survey, researchers at the University of Southern Maine found that almost 23% of rural residents purchased high-deductible plans, while only 20% of their urban counterparts did.

The more rural the county, the more likely residents were to purchase high-deductible plans, the study showed. More than a quarter of people living in rural counties that were not adjacent to a metro area had high-deductible plans.

Rural residents were more likely to purchase such plans because there is a greater concentration of the groups who prefer this type of insurance in rural areas, the study said. Nationally, people who purchase high-deductible plans tend to be white, lower income and married.

When researchers factored in the demographic differences, rural and urban areas chose high-deductible plans at about the same rate.

The study used data from before the full implementation of the Affordable Care Act. The act’s requirements that many residents get private insurance could cause another spike in the purchase of high-deductible plans, the study said.

“The ACA has the potential to greatly expand health insurance coverage for many rural Americans,” the study said. “However, the impact on access to health care may depend, in part, on the benefit design of the plans into which rural residents enroll.”

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