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Medical Expenditure Panel Survey


The Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) produces nationally representative estimates of health care use, expenditures, sources of payment, insurance coverage, and quality of care for the United States civilian noninstitutionalized population. The survey features several rounds of interviewing covering 2 full calendar years. MEPS consists of three components: (1) the Household Component, a nationally representative survey of the civilian noninstitutionalized population; (2) the Medical Provider Component, which collects data from medical care providers and facilities reported as providing care to persons interviewed in the Household Component; and (3) the Insurance Component, which collects data on the types and costs of workplace health insurance.

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
Data Years Available: 
1977 & 1987 (National Medical Care Expenditure Surveys); 1996-present (MEPS)
Annual since 1996
Mode of Collection: 
Selected Content: 
Sociodemographic characteristics, health care utilization, type of health insurance, sources of payment for health care, health care and medication expenses.
Population Covered: 
U.S. civilian noninstitutionalized population.

The Household Component (HC) of MEPS is drawn from a subsample of households that participated in the prior year's National Health Interview Survey conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics. Missing expenditure data are imputed using data collected in the Medical Provider Component (MPC) whenever possible. The MPC collects data from hospitals, physicians, home health care providers, and pharmacies that were reported in the HC as providing care to MEPS sample persons. The MPC is particularly useful in obtaining expenditure information for persons enrolled in managed care plans and for Medicaid recipients. Sample sizes for the MPC vary from year to year depending on the HC sample size and the MPC sampling rates for providers. The Insurance Component (IC) consists of two subcomponent samples: a household sample and a list sample. The household sample collects detailed information from employers on the health insurance held by and offered to MEPS-HC respondents. The list sample collects data on the types and costs of workplace health insurance from about 40,000 business establishments and governments each year.

Response Rates and Sample Size: 

Beginning in 2002, the annual sample size for the MEPS Household Component has been 13,000-15,000 families. The full-year household core response rate has generally been about 66%.

Interpretation Issues: 

National Center for Health Statistics. Health United States 2009: With Special Feature on Medical Technology. Hyattsville, Maryland. 2010; pp 454-455.