Cutler Institute for Health and Social Policy

Maine Rural Health Research Center, Population Health and Health Policy

Profile of Rural Health Insurance Coverage: A Chartbook

Abstract: 

More than twenty years of research has demonstrated that rural residents are at greater risk of being uninsured compared to urban residents and more recent studies point to problems of underinsurance as well. Most studies have shown that the problems of uninsurance and underinsurance are greatest among rural residents living in smaller communities located further from more urbanized areas. Section I examines recent estimates and changes since 1997 in rural health insurance coverage. Section II explores differences in the demographic, socio-economic, employment and other risk factors for uninsurance among rural and urban residents. Section III profiles the demographic and economic characteristics of the rural and urban uninsured. Section IV examines differences in the employment characteristics of the rural and urban uninsured. The final section discusses policy implications for covering the rural uninsured. Methods and an appendix of data tables provide source material for the chartbook.

Publication Type: 
Book/Monograph
Publish Date: 
June 16, 2009
URL: 
http://muskie.usm.maine.edu/Publications/rural/Rural-Health-Insurance-Chartbook-2009.pdf

Cutler Institute awarded $600,000 to help youth raised in foster system

Marty Zanghi

USM's Cutler Institute for Health and Social Policy has been awarded a $600,000 grant to help young people raised in Maine's foster system to prepare for college and the workforce.

The money comes from the Annie E. Casey Foundation as part of a $5.4 million national effort aimed at youth who are homeless or in either the foster care or juvenile justice systems.

"Many of these young people have suffered abuse or trauma and were raised in poverty and neglect," said Marty Zanghi, the Cutler Center's youth development director.

The money -- including an expected $400,000 more in matching funds -- will pay for contracted work with agencies in the target areas, starting with the greater Portland area and Penobscot, Kennebec and Somerset counties.

Nationally and in Maine, only about 3 percent of people who grow up in the foster care system achieve a college degree, he said.

"It's dramatically lower than the rate for the general population," Zanghi said. "It's a horrible outcome."

It doesn't have to be that way, though.

"There are young people that overcome these circumstances," he said. "I know people who have master's degrees and Ph.Ds."

The Casey Foundation's national effort is being called the "Learn and Earn to Achieve Potential" (LEAP) initiative.

The initiative is working on partnerships in Maine and nine other areas: Alaska, Arizona, California, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska and New York. In each case, people will adapt two evidence-based models to meet the needs of these youth, including support to address the trauma they may have experienced in their lives.

In Maine, the work will include a pair of successful programs, Jobs for Maine Graduates (JMG) and Jobs for the Future. Results will be carefully tracked, Zanghi said.

After the first year, the program is expected to grow.

"Eventually, the additional help will be available to all children, 14 and over, in the foster care system in the state of Maine," Zanghi said.

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