|Dataset Full Name||Medical Expenditure Panel Survey|
The MEPS is a multi-component national probability sample survey of individuals, families, health care providers, and employers across the United States. This survey was initiated in 1996 with the purpose of providing national-level estimates of health care utilization, health care access, expenditures, and health insurance coverage of the non-institutionalized U.S. civilian population. The MEPS has three major components:
(1) MEPS Household Component - MEPS HC;
(2) MEPS Medical Provider Component - MEPS MPC; and
(3) MEPS Insurance/Employer Component - MEPS IC.
The MEPS HC has been extensively used by researchers as it is a public-use dataset containing key variables of interest; all other MEPS components are only available as restricted-use files.
|Key Terms||Health Care Expenditure, Health Care Access, Health Care Utilization, Health Insurance and Coverage, Chronic Conditions|
Department of Health and Human Services (HHS):
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)
|Health Conditions/Disability Measures|
MEPS "priority conditions" include: Arthritis, Alzheimer’s/dementia, Anxiety disorders, Cancer, Depression, Diabetes, Stroke
Detailed health condition data are collected from household respondents as verbatim text during each round and then coded by professional coders using ICD-9 diagnostic codes (available in the data)
|Disability Measures||Ambulatory disability, Asthma, Cognitive disability, Functional limitations (ADLs & IADLs), Hearing disability, Independent living disability, Mental health disability, Physical disability, Self-care disability, Special equipment use/assistive technology, Visual disability, Work limitation||Measures/Outcomes of Interest|
|Topics||Health care expenditure, Out-of-pocket payments, Health insurance, Health care access and utilization, Emergency room visits, Inpatient visits, Hospital stay, Dental visits, Outpatient visits, Outpatient procedures, Employment, Obesity, Health behaviors||Sample|
|Sample Population||Civilian households and non-institutionalized group quarters|
A new panel of households is selected
each year for inclusion in the MEPS HC from a subsample of the previous year’s
NHIS households with oversampling of low-income households. The households
participate in five rounds of interviews over two years. In any given year, the MEPS HC is comprised
of two overlapping panels that yield a combined
annual sample size of approximately 15,000 households.
|Unit of Observation||Individual|
|Geographic specificity||National-level estimates; some state-level estimates possible with pooling of data across several years (may not be very reliable)||Data Collection|
|Data Collection Mode||In-person interviews administered to
household representative (age equal to or greater than age of majority) by
trained interviewers from U.S. Census Bureau.
One random sample adult from household is interviewed to document adult
health status and data is collected on one random household child from an
adult household informant.
|Years Collected||1996 - present|
|Data Collection Frequency||Annual||Strengths and Limitations|
|Strengths||Only nationally representative dataset collecting information on health care use, expenditure, access to health care and health insurance, ADL and IADL variables. Self-reported medical conditions coded into ICD-9 format allowing a better understanding of disease condition. Detailed information on jobs held. longitudinal panel design allows for estimating changes over two year period for each panel. NHIS MEPS linkages provides further follow-up on common areas. Oversampling of individuals below 200% of the Federal Poverty Line (FPL) provides better estimate of this group|
|Limitations||Only national level statistics. State-level statistics are possible by pooling data cross years, but they are not very reliable. Does not include population living in institutionalized group quarters. MEPS IC and MEPS MPC components are restricted user files and difficult to access.||Data Details|
|Data Access Requirements||
Public Use Dataset:
Data Use agreement No cost:
Summary Data tables:
Multiple technical reports on methodology
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