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Rehabilitation Dataset Directory: Dataset Profile

Dataset: Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey (MCBS)

Basic Information
Dataset full name: Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey
Dataset acronym MCBS
Summary The MCBS is a longitudinal survey that selects a nationally-representative sample of Medicare beneficiaries and longitudinally tracks their health status, health expenditures, and utilization of services. Each survey participant is interviewed three times a year over four years, regardless of their residential settings (community or institutions). There are two types of data files in the MCBS: from 1991-2013, these were the Access to Care file and Cost and Use file; from 2015 and beyond, these are the Survey file and the Cost Supplement file. 1991-2013: The Access to Care file contains information on beneficiaries' access to health care (including rehabilitation services), satisfaction with care, and usual source of care. The MCBS Cost and Use file links Medicare financial claims to survey-reported events. 2015-present: The Survey file contains information about demographics (household characteristics, information on income and assets), health care (access, satisfaction, usual source of care, preventative service), health status (medical conditions and health behaviors), timeline data (health insurance and residence), and facility characteristics (if applicable). The Cost Supplement file contains details about health care cost (expenditure and payment, source of payment, supplementary insurance costs), health care utilization (services received), and fee-for-service claims data. The Cost Supplement file must be merged with the Survey file to perform analyses; the MCBS file containing cost information is no longer an independent module Note that the data for 2014 were not released due to the 2015 redesign of the MCBS.
Key Terms Health Status, Health and Rehabilitation Services Use and Expenditures, Health Insurance Coverage, and Socioeconomic and Demographic Characteristics
Study Design Longitudinal
Data Type(s) Survey
Sponsoring Agency/Entity Department of Health and Human Services (HHS): Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) - Office of Strategic Planning
Health conditions/Disability measures
Health condition(s)
Disability Measures Ambulatory disability, Cognitive disability, Communication impairment, Functional limitations (ADLs and/or IADLs), Hearing disability, Independent living disability, Intellectual disability, Mental health disability, Self-care disability, Special equipment use/assistive technology, Veteran service-related disability, Visual disability
Measures/outcomes of interest
Topics Health status, Health and rehabilitation services use and expenditures, Health insurance coverage, and Socioeconomic and Demographic characteristics
Sample Population Medicare beneficiaries
Sample Size/Notes Approximately 13,000 Medicare beneficiaries (oversampling of individuals age 85+ and those with disabilities)
Unit of Observation Individual
Geographic Coverage National
Geographic specificity NA
Data Collection
Data Collection Mode Survey
Years Collected 1991-present (2014 data not released)
Data Collection Frequency Annual
Strengths and limitations
Strengths Longitudinal design allows researchers to determine trajectories of health status and associated health/rehabilitation services utilization. It uses a combination of data collection strategies (administrative and survey). Can determine health expenditures for Medicare and other types of insurance coverage.
Limitations A redesign in 2015; 2014 data not released.
Data details
Primary Website
Data Access Public Use File (PUF): Limited Data Set (LDS):
Data Access Requirements Data Use agreement, No cost (2013 Access to Care PUF) Data Use agreement, $ Cost (LDS)
Summary Tables/reports
Selected papers
Technical Technical Documentation: 2003: 2008: Questionnaires: Codebooks:
Other Papers Bibliography:

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The Rehabilitation Research Cross-dataset Variable Catalog has been developed through the Center for Large Data Research & Data Sharing in Rehabilitation (CLDR). The Center for Large Data Research and Data Sharing in Rehabilitation involves a consortium of investigators from the University of Texas Medical Branch, Cornell University's Yang Tan Institute (YTI), and the University of Michigan. The CLDR is funded by NIH - National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, through the National Center for Medical Rehabilitation Research, the National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke, and the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering. (P2CHD065702).

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