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Reaching Rural Communities

Reaching children and families who are eligible for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) can be particularly challenging in rural areas of the country. Americans living in rural communities face many obstacles including:

  • Disproportionally higher poverty rates
  • Having more chronic conditions
  • Being uninsured or underinsured
  • Experiencing a fragmented health care delivery system with an overworked and shrinking health workforce
  • Lacking access to specialty services

A Strategic Approach to Addressing Rural Health

Approximately 60 million people live in rural areas including millions of Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) Rural Health Strategy provides a proactive approach on health care issues to ensure that the nearly 1-in-5 individuals who live in rural America have access to high-quality, affordable health care.

The agency-wide strategy, built on input from rural providers and beneficiaries, focuses on five objectives to achieve the agency’s vision for rural health:

  • Apply a rural lens to CMS programs and policies
  • Improve access to care through provider engagement and support
  • Advance telehealth and telemedicine
  • Empower patients in rural communities to make decisions about their health care
  • Leverage partnerships to achieve the goals of the CMS Rural Health Strategy

Rural Health Outreach Tools

The Connecting Kids to Coverage National Campaign works closely with partners and community-based organizations who conduct rural health outreach and have developed tools to focus on ways to reach and serve children and families in rural areas.

Biblioteca de herramientas de alcance

Explore the Campaign’s Outreach Tool Library to find a wide range of additional materials available to support outreach efforts.

Seminarios virtuales y videos

Kentucky’s Mountain Comprehensive Health Corporation is one of the largest rural health centers in the country. The Kentucky outreach video describes the role rural health centers play in providing access to health care in these communities as well as the unique challenges they face.

The Connecting Kids to Coverage Campaign has also hosted two webinars on effective outreach techniques and Campaign resources to enhance rural outreach and enrollment efforts:

Reaching and Enrolling Families in Rural Communities Webinar - October 30, 2014
Outreach and Enrollment Strategies to Reach Rural Communities - July 31, 2018

American Indian & Alaska Native Outreach in Rural Communities

The American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) community has some of the highest rates of uninsurance in the United States, particularly in rural areas. The AI/AN community has gained greater access to coverage over the past few years but, as of 2015, 21% of AI/ANs remain uninsured. CMS' Division of Tribal Affairs (DTA) creates informational materials for the AI/AN community. These materials are available for free on DTA's full catalog of tools.