Medicaid Provides More Access to Health Coverage for Rural Communities than Metro Areas Across Minnesota

June 7, 2017
For More Information Contact:
Stephanie Hogenson | 612-978-7365 |

ST. PAUL, Minn — A larger share of children in small towns and rural areas of Minnesota rely on Medical Assistance, Minnesota’s Medicaid program, to protect them from rising health care costs than those in metropolitan areas, according to a new report released today by the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families and the Rural Health Research Project of the University of North Carolina.

The report, “Medicaid in Small Town America: A Lifeline for Children, Families and Communities,” finds that 38 percent of children in rural areas and small towns in Minnesota receive health coverage through Medicaid, compared to 28 percent in Minnesota’s urban areas. For adults, 19 percent in non-metro areas are covered by Medicaid compared to 14 percent in metro areas.

“Medicaid provides critical access to life-saving treatment and protection from rising health care costs to many children and families living in small towns and rural America,” said Joan Alker, Executive Director of the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families. “Cuts to Medicaid and other health care programs would take those protections away from many and risk financial ruin, denial of health care, or both.”

 In Minnesota, the impact of the Medicaid expansion and the Affordable Care Act is clear for rural areas and small towns. The uninsured rate for children in these areas dropped from 8 percent to 4 percent while the uninsured rate for adults dropped from dropped from 14 percent to 7 percent.

 “When kids and families have health insurance, our entire community is strengthened,” said Children’s Defense Fund-Minnesota’s Research and Policy Director Stephanie Hogenson. “More access to care can mean fewer visits to the ER, less uncompensated care and more people getting—and staying—healthy.  We must not turn our backs on the progress we’ve made in getting our children the health coverage they need to succeed.” 

The report primarily relies on data from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS). The full report, along with interactive maps showing a county-by-county breakdown on health care coverage data, are available at:


The Children’s Defense Fund Leave No Child Behind® mission is to ensure every child a Healthy Start, a Head Start, a Fair Start, a Safe Start and a Moral Start in life and successful passage to adulthood with the help of caring families and communities.