Amidst efforts by health care advocates to get Congress to renew the boosted Affordable Care Act subsidies which were enacted with the signing of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) in March, 2011, a new study shows that rural residents are both in the most danger regarding loss of coverage and benefit most from the subsidies.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation released their study Tuesday. Key findings include:

  • In 34 states, average benchmark premiums in rural areas exceed those in urban areas.
  • On average, when weighted across all 50 states, benchmark Affordable Care Act premiums in rural areas are about 10% higher than in urban areas.
  • Only eight states have average urban benchmark premiums that exceed average rural premiums.
  • The value of the enhanced premium subsidies is greater in rural areas.

Researchers determined that if ARPA premium subsidies are not extended, people in rural areas will experience significant, negative impacts. For many rural residents, extending these benefits will mean the difference between comprehensive coverage and no coverage at all.

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