Rural-urban differences in health insurance coverage and patterns among working-age adults in Kentucky

J Rural Health. Summer 2010;26(2):129-38. doi: 10.1111/j.1748-0361.2010.00274.x.


Context: Past studies show that rural populations are less likely than urban populations to have health insurance coverage, which may severely limit their access to needed health services.

Purpose: To examine rural-urban differences in various aspects of health insurance coverage among working-age adults in Kentucky.

Methods: Data are from a household survey conducted in Kentucky in 2005. The respondents include 2,036 individuals ages 18-64. Bivariate analyses were used to compare the rural-urban differences in health insurance coverage by individual characteristics. Logistic regression analyses were used to examine the independent impact of rural-urban residence on the various aspects of health insurance coverage, while controlling for the individuals' health status and sociodemographic characteristics.

Findings: The overall rate of working-age adults with health insurance did not differ significantly between the rural and urban areas of Kentucky. However, there were significant rural-urban differences in insurance for specific types of health care and in patterns of insurance coverage. Rural adults were less likely than urban adults to have coverage for vision care, dental care, mental health care, and drug abuse treatment. Rural adults were also less likely to obtain insurance through employment, and their current insurance coverage was, on average, of shorter duration than that of urban adults.

Conclusions: In Kentucky, the overall health insurance rate of working-age adults is influenced more by employment status and income than by whether these individuals reside in rural or urban areas. However, coverage for specific types of care, and coverage patterns, differ significantly by place of residence.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Data Collection
  • Female
  • Health Benefit Plans, Employee*
  • Humans
  • Insurance Coverage / statistics & numerical data*
  • Kentucky
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Rural Population*
  • Urban Population*
  • Young Adult