I guess you have 2 options: Simple Freedom or Tracfone. Tracfone will probably have really good coverage in your area as it's specifically tailored for whatever zip you're in for the most part, although you'll want to try to get a TDMA phone if you're out in the sticks a lot. You may have to do a different zipcode to do so but you'll be rewarded with 160 minutes of time plus a phone for $25 right now. After 120 days (60 with the phone + 60 with the 40 minute card which may be able to get 10 minutes more) you'll need to get another card. For 150 minutes\1 year it's $90, and you can get 100 or 200 extra minutes so it's not as bad of a deal. This will net you $7.50 a month. Or you can go on eBay and find the numerous "ESN Minutes" deals out there. They will give you 100 minutes\60 days for around $20. This is a lot better than the 40-for-$20 deal that you usually get, although you get 100 minutes only and only if your phone is in good standing (which it will be if you don't dawdle in refilling). This would be $10 a month.
Simple Freedom is always 25 cents\50 cents a minute (home\roaming) and the phone, with $10 in airtime is $50 at many Wal-Marts. They will have very good coverage but you will have to pay $20 every 60 days to keep the phone active.
Both providers can (and possibly will at no extra charge to you) use the Verizon network, so you'll probably be OK there. Just keep in mind that if you want decent per-minute rates on Tracfone, you'll be paying $10 a month for either plan.