Health Care for the Uninsured: How Do the Uninsured Use the Rural Safety Net?


This study described the contributions of family and general practice physicians from Wyoming to the health care safety net. We surveyed family and general practice physicians in Wyoming about provider demographics, practice composition, and policies for treating the underinsured or uninsured. From a 50% response rate, 61% made less than the national mean family physician income ($130,000), and women were less likely than men to make this mean income, even when controlling for hours worked. Close to two-thirds claimed bad debt of over $10,000, and 29.3% noted forgiven debt of over $10,000. Physicians with less income than the prior year were more likely to decrease their charity care. Wyoming family physicians provide significant amounts of informal safety net care, which is threatened by income loss. Funded by HRSA’s ORHP.