This study uses Medicaid claims data for income-eligible enrollees in California, Georgia and Mississippi to compare expenditures, resource usage and health risks between residents of rural and urban areas of the states. Resource use is measured using the Resource Based Relative Value Scale (RBRVS) system for professional services, hospital days and outpatient facility visits; it also is valued at private insurance reimbursement rates for the states. Health risks are measured using the diagnosis-based Adjusted Clinical Group system. Resource use is compared on a risk-adjusted basis with the use of urban Medicaid enrollees as the benchmark. We find that actual expenditures for rural care users are lower than for urban care users. However, because the proportion of Medicaid enrollees who use care is higher in rural than in urban areas in all three states, expenditures per rural enrollee are not consistently lower. Case mix is more resource intensive for rural compared to urban residents in all three states. Although resource usage is not systematically lower overall for rural enrollees, on a risk-adjusted basis they tend to use less hospital resources than urban enrollees. Capitation rates based on historical per enrollee expenditures would not appear to under-reimburse managed care organizations for the care of rural as opposed to urban residents in the study states.