Insurance Component of the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey
(MEPS-IC) is an annual survey of employers that collects information
the employer’s health insurance offerings. There are
two distinct samples fielded in the MEPS IC survey: the List
and the Household (link) sample. While these samples are designed
to address different survey goals, the two have been combined
to make data collection more efficient. The U.S. Census Bureau
serves as the data collection agent for the MEPS-IC survey.
MEPS-IC List sample. The MEPS-IC List
sample is an independently drawn, nationwide sample
of establishments and state/local governments. This sample is specifically
designed to make national and state estimates each year. Tables
of estimates, derived from the List sample, are posted on the MEPS
Web site. The List sample is drawn from the Business Register,
a confidential list of establishments in the United States maintained
by the Census Bureau and from the Census of Governments, a frame
maintained by the Census Bureau and updated once every five years.
Due to the confidentiality requirements surrounding any samples
drawn from the Business Register, there can be no Public Use Files
released with micro data. For researchers, the MEPS-IC List sample
microdata can only be accessed through the Census
Bureau's Research Data Centers. The data are not available
at the AHRQ Data Center and the List sample is not linked to the
Component (MEPS-HC) survey.
MEPS-IC Household sample (1996-2001). The MEPS-IC
Household sample (also known as the
Link sample or the Household Link sample) was a sample of employers
that were identified
by respondents in the MEPS-HC as their main employer or secondary
employer that was the source of their health insurance. This
sample was collected only from 1996 through 2001. This sample was
directly linkable to the MEPS-HC survey and was specifically
the making of national- or state-level estimates. While the Household
sample was not derived from a confidential frame, the promise
of confidentiality given to respondents makes it impossible to
a public use file with the microdata. Go to Household
Component/Insurance Component Link Files for
more information on how researchers can access these files.
Data collection methods. The MEPS-IC uses
multiple data collection methods. Establishments
(and governmental units) are initially screened by telephone to
confirm their mailing addresses and to establish a point-of-contact
with a knowledgeable respondent. If an establishment does not offer
health insurance to any of its employees, the noninsurance questions
about establishment and firm characteristics are asked at that
time, thus completing the survey by telephone.
Establishments that offer health insurance and those that do
not respond to the telephone screening are mailed survey questionnaires.
The mailing consists of an establishment-level questionnaire
separate questionnaires for the health insurance plans offered.
A second mailing is sent if a response to the first mailing is
not received within a three-week period. If the establishment
does not return either mailing, it is called and interviewed
telephone. A computer-assisted telephone interview questionnaire
is used at this stage to conduct the interview and enter the
responses directly into a database. Large companies and governments
are occasionally interviewed in person due to the large amount
of data being requested of them.
The health insurance plan questions are asked for each offered
plan, up to a maximum of four plans. Most companies do not offer
more than four plans. However, if an establishment indicates
during the telephone prescreening interview that it offers more
plans, the names of all the plans are collected and then plan-level
questionnaires are sent for those plans with the largest enrollments—but
making sure that we get at least one plan of each type offered.
The MEPS-IC data tables are published annually. Effective
with the 2008 MEPS-IC survey, private sector tables are
posted on the
MEPS Web site in July and the public sector tables in November
of the year after the data are collected. For example, data
used to create the 2008 MEPS-IC tables were collected
in 2008, and the
tables posted in July and November 2009.
Go to Survey Questionnaires — Insurance
Component to access the main questionnaires used in the collection of the MEPS-IC survey.