Rural Americans and the Affordable Care Act
If you are one of the nearly 50 million people living in rural America, accessing health care can be a challenge. You might live in a small town with limited access to health services and must travel longer distances to get health care. In addition, a health care workforce shortage is making it harder to find doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other health care professionals.
The Affordable Care Act will bring important relief to you and your family by making health care more accessible and affordable. Here’s how:
- The new law ensures that regardless of where you live, you will have greater access to primary care providers – including doctors, nurses, nurse practitioners and physician assistants. It will help support the training, development, and placement of more than 16,000 new primary care providers over the next five years.
- Rural families currently pay for nearly half of their health insurance costs out of their own pockets, but the new law helps put an end to this by capping out-of-pocket expenses.
New plans are required to cover prevention and wellness benefits for free, so you and your family can get the care you need for tests such as cancer screenings and immunizations.
- If you are a small business owner, you might qualify for tax credits to make it easier for you to cover your employees. Tax credits of up to 35 percent of employer premium contributions will be available this year to firms that choose to offer coverage, and small non-profit organizations can receive a credit of up to 25 percent.
- Community Health Centers, a main provider of primary care for many rural communities, will get more funding, enabling them to nearly double the number of patients they see.
The – a program that repays loans and gives scholarships to primary care providers who work in areas of the country with too few health professionals – will be expanded, and more resources will be given to medical schools to train physicians to work in rural areas.
Learn more about the Affordable Care Act and Rural Americans (PDF - 1.06 MB)