Medicaid is present across the entire country, but research shows that it has the biggest impact in rural areas. According to Georgetown University Center For Children & Families and the North Carolina Rural Health Research Program, non-urbanized areas have always been more likely to have an uninsured populace, but the expansion of programs such as Medicaid is slowly bringing these numbers down.

In multiple years, rural areas in states where Medicaid has expanded saw significant decreases in the percentage of uninsured citizens. The most prominent changes took the form of a 36% to 15% reduction in both 2008-2009 and 2015-2016. In states that did not expand Medicaid, rural areas saw a noticeable albeit lesser reduction in uninsured people from 36% to 32% across the same years.

These same expansion states also reported a 13% increase in the number of patients who presented specifically with Medicaid insurance. According to the study, these numbers have also been tied to the lower number of closing hospitals and practices in rural expansion states due to not having to provide as much uncompensated care. By contrast, many urban areas have access to a greater number of facilities and providers, making the general populace less dependant on any one place.

If you work as a coder or biller in a rural area, be aware of what this trend means for your workplace. If the number of Medicaid patients has risen this much in the recent past, chances are that it will continue to do so in the future. This in turn means a higher influx in patients, which will result in a greater number of claims for you and your coworkers to sort through. This will also mean more coordination with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), so make sure that your workplace stays on top of any CMS changes so that you can continue to provide the best possible level of care.