Rural residents are less likely than urban residents to have health care coverage through their employer, more likely to be low-income, and oftentimes are unable to afford coverage on their own. For hospitals that serve rural residents, this often means higher rates of uncompensated care compared to urban hospitals. Recent policy changes could lead to an increase in the number of uninsured in the United States, which could affect the amount uncompensated care reported by hospitals. Ensuring the adequate and justifiable support for hospitals that serve vulnerable populations has also increased interest in how and whether uncompensated care is reported. The NC Rural Health Research and Policy Analysis Center’s brief, Geographic Variation in Uncompensated Care between Rural Hospitals and Urban Hospitals, compares uncompensated care in rural and urban hospitals and describes how it varies across regions of the country.
- Reiter K. Uncompensated care burden may mean financial vulnerability for rural hospitals in states that did not expand Medicaid. Health Affairs October 2015;34(10):1721-1729.
- Provision of Uncompensated Care by Rural Hospitals: A Preliminary Look at Medicare Cost Report Worksheet S-10. (August 2013). NC Rural Health Research and Policy Analysis Center. UNC-Chapel Hill.