Rural-urban differences in uptake of diabetes self-management education among Medicare beneficiaries: Results from the 2016 to 2018 Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey

Academic Article


  • Purpose: To assess rural-urban differences in participation rates of diabetes self-management education and associated factors among Medicare beneficiaries with type 2 diabetes (T2DM). Methods: Data were from the 2016 to 2018 Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey (MCBS). Participation in diabetes self-management education was self-reported. The study sample included 3,799 beneficiaries aged 65 years and older with self-reported T2DM. Logistic regression was used to assess the association of participation in diabetes self-management education and residential location. Sampling weights embedded in the MCBS were incorporated into all analyses. Findings: Overall, the participation rate of diabetes self-management education was 46.8% (95% CI: 44.4%-49.2%). The rate was 40.3% for beneficiaries in rural areas, 48.0% for suburban areas, and 47.3% for urban areas. About 31% of beneficiaries newly diagnosed with diabetes did not participate within the past year. Controlling for other covariates, beneficiaries in rural areas were less likely to have participated in diabetes self-management education (AOR = 0.73, 95% CI: 0.55-0.95) than those living in urban areas. Asian Americans were less likely to have participated (AOR = 0.49, 95% CI: 0.28-0.84) than Whites. Those who were older, with lower education, and lower income levels were less likely to have participated (P <.05). Conclusions: Recent MCBS data indicate that more than half of Medicare beneficiaries with T2DM did not participate in diabetes self-management education, and the participation rate in rural areas was 7 percentage points lower than that ‚Äčin urban areas. The study findings highlight challenges to maximize the benefits of participating in diabetes self-management education, particularly in rural areas.
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  • Luo H; Basu R; Bell RA; Rafferty AP; Zeng X; Qu H; Dove C