It’s not as easy as people think when you need to obtain medical care services in the rural areas of Florida. Rural health care issues have to be timed carefully, and that’s not always possible in accidents and emergencies. Rural geographic locations can affect the health of those who live outside urban areas. 

The informational guide below will go over seven things you need to be aware of regarding rural health care issues. Especially if you live in Northern Broward and Southern Palm Beach Counties. If you live in those counties, you may realize how difficult it has been to receive timely health care is sometimes. 

Once you find rural healthcare services to use, does its location impact the quality of your care? Yes, it does impact the quality of your care. Florida is ranked last in the gap of medical care and readmissions due to income level and where they reside disparities.

Many people in the rural parts of Florida are unaware they aren’t receiving the best medical care and coverage. Read on to learn how your medical care and coverage is being affected.

Rural Health Care Issues

Rural health care issues started well before now, but in 2019 new legislation passed, which stated no matter which part of Florida you live, you no longer are required to carry health insurance. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have health insurance. There are environmental differences for medical care you are given depending on whether or not you live in urban or rural areas.

The Florida Office of Rural Health defines rural medicine as county-level healthcare based on a census population density of fewer than 100 persons per square mile.

#1 – Number of Critical Care Hospitals

If your in an accident or suffer a medical crisis, you better hope it is somewhere near a major city in Florida. There are only 12 critical and emergency care hospitals in rural areas in Florida. The Economic Research Service (ERS) determined in a 2017-2018 report that the poverty rate in rural Florida areas is 19.8%.

In the urban areas of Florida, the poverty levels are 13.9%. Having health insurance can be very beneficial when dealing with this kind of medical care coverage disparity. In Florida, the Health Insurance Marketplace is complex.

If you want to get access to medical care or go to a hospital and live in rural areas, you are going to spend a lot longer confusing and contains part of Obamacare, Short-Term Plans, Limited Benefit Plans, Health Sharing Ministry Plans and more. If you add figuring out which of the above you need if you live in Florida rural areas, deciding what to get and if it will help you can feel overwhelming.

#2 – Travel Time

If you want to get access to medical care or go to a hospital and live in rural areas, you are going to spend a lot longer getting to medical care than your suburban and urban counterparts. 

The average time to the healthcare or urgent medical care you need is at least seventeen to thirty-four minutes away. That’s compared to twelve minutes for your suburban and urban populations.

#3 – Disparity of Healthcare Services Provided

There is a true disparity in not only the limited health care facilities in rural Florida, but in the healthcare you receive when you get there. This has to do with the unequal distribution of everything from number of medical personnel to quality of food in the hospital.

This was scientifically measured by the Gini coefficient. The Gini coefficient is a popular measure used in analyzing income, location, and service inequalities. The Gini coefficient in primary care physicians in urban Florida is .49.

The Gini coefficient in primary care physicians in rural Florida is .38.

#4 – Rural Women Have Poorer Healthcare Outcomes Than Urban Women 

Rural women have poorer health outcomes because they have less access to healthcare than their urban counterparts. The poorer healthcare outcomes women receive has everything to do with the limited number of women’s health care providers in their geographic area. Rural women experience higher rates of:

  • Fatal injuries from car accidents
  • Cerebrovascular disease deaths
  • Suicides
  • Cancer and
  • Obesity

Medical Specialists in all the above medical fields can make a difference to this ongoing healthcare issue by encouraging physicians, nurses, and medical care technicians to work in more rural communities for at least part of their professional careers.

#5 – Limited Use of Telemedicine Technologies by Florida State Regulations

Because insurance coverage is optional at this point for telemedicine insurance coverage, many customers don’t purchase it with their health insurance coverage. This creates a gap in health and medical services. Telemedicine technologies coverage would be helpful between the insurer and their customers. 

Telemedicine technologies coverage rates would be helpful between the insurer and the provider, but as of now, the providers haven’t been able to lock down on the prices or coverage areas of need.

#6 – Teen Sex and Birth Rates

In Florida and the nation, the teen birth rate is higher in rural areas than in urban ones. It’s also true that in rural areas, national data research reports teens present higher risks for negative sexual health outcomes. These outcomes include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Pregnancies
  • Sexually-transmitted diseases
  • Having sex at earlier ages
  • Less access to birth control information

If rural teens received contraception education and sexual health medical treatments, the disparities could be addressed. It would also significantly cut down on teen pregnancies and STDs in the adolescent and rural teen populations.

#7 – Preventable Diseases or Avoidable Chronic Disease are Disproportionately High in Rural Areas

Some rural areas have significantly higher rates of very preventable diseases. Chronic diseases are rampant in certain rural areas, and they don’t have to be. Poverty does play into evaluating the risk factors for poor health outcomes in rural areas.

But there is much that could be done to allow rural populations to access the same level of health and medical care as urban populations.

Rural or Urban You Need Adequate Health Insurance Coverage

It doesn’t matter if you have urban or rural health care issues in Florida. You need health insurance coverage. The health insurance coverage can range from Short-Term Health coverage, Long-Term Health Care Coverage, or any health insurance in between.

When you need coverage, we’ll be there for you. Reach out to us today, so we can help answer any of your questions and keep you informed of health care coverage changes in your area. It important you have peace of mind knowing you have the health coverage you need for the people who mean the most to you. 


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