Cutler Institute for Health and Social Policy

Population Health and Health Policy

Rural Residents More Likely to be Underinsured (Policy Brief)

Abstract: 

The purpose of this study was to identify whether and to what extent there are rural-urban differences in underinsured rates among the privately insured, and, where differences exist, to understand what characteristics of rural residents are related to their likelihood of being underinsured. Using the 2001 and 2001 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS), the authors examined the annual out-of-pocket health care expenditures for U.S. residents under age 65 that were continuously insured by a private plan in either 2001 or 2002.<p></p>Findings showed that, despite having private health insurance coverage, those who use medical services continue to pay for a substantial portion of their own health care costs, particularly those living in rural areas. The average rural non-adjacent individual paid for 39% of their care in 2001 or 2002, compared to 35% for rural adjacent and 32% for urban individuals. Additional findings showed that one out of eight non-adjacent residents is underinsured (12.4%), compared to 10% of rural adjacent and 7% of urban residents.

Publication Type: 
Research and Policy Brief
Publish Date: 
February 1, 2006
Author: 
URL: 
http://www.muskie.usm.maine.edu/Publications/rural/PB33.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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