MEPS Home Medical Expenditure Panel Survey
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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose of this study?
Who participates?
How was I selected?
Why is it so important for me to participate?
Is my information going to be confidential?
I have a very small business. Why do you want information from me?
I represent a large business with many locations. Why are you asking for information for one of my smallest, most obscure company locations and not for the company as a whole?
What’s in this for my business?
Can I report online??
I have returned my form. Why have I received another just like it?
Whom do I contact if I have questions?


What is the purpose of this study?
The study’s purpose is to measure state and national levels of health insurance spending as well as to provide data for analyzing the effects of current and proposed health care reforms. We collect information on the availability of health insurance for workers and the cost of that insurance to both the employee and the organization providing the insurance.
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Who participates?
Private and public sector employers in all 50 states and the District of Columbia participate in the Health Insurance Cost Study. Business establishments of all sizes and business activities are chosen to represent the country, their state, and other businesses with similar characteristics. For example, small businesses in the survey represent thousands of other small businesses across the country.
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How was I selected?
Your business was chosen as part of a scientifically selected sample of businesses. Taking a representative sample is much less costly than attempting to contact every business in the country.
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Why is it so important for me to participate?
Your business has been selected to represent other businesses like yours across the country. We cannot replace you if you do not participate, and businesses like yours may not be adequately represented in the study. By participating in the Health Insurance Cost Study, you are performing a valuable public service to help policymakers better understand the issues facing America's employer-based health insurance system.
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Is my information going to be confidential?
Yes, the information you provide is only used for research and cannot be used for any other purpose. Survey results are reported in summary fashion and are combined with the information from other businesses participating in the survey. The study is conducted under the authority of Title 13, United States Code (U.S.C.), and Section 8(b) and Section 913 of the Public Health Service Act (Title 42, U.S.C., Section 299b-2). The confidentiality of your reported information is protected by federal law [Section 9 of the Title 13, U.S.C (the Census Bureau statute)].
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I have a very small business. Why do you want information from me?
Your business was chosen from a scientifically selected sample of businesses and represents many other small businesses like yours. Small businesses are different from large businesses regarding health insurance offerings, premium costs, and cost-sharing arrangements with employees. It is critical for us to measure the availability and cost of health insurance coverage for all employers, not just the largest ones. Small businesses face different problems when it comes to offering health insurance. For this reason, it is also important for us to know more about small employers that do not offer health insurance to their employees.
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I represent a large business with many locations. Why are you asking for information for one of my smallest, most obscure company locations and not for the company as a whole?
The Health Insurance Cost Study is an establishment-level (site) survey and not a firm-level (company) survey. By sampling sites, we are able to produce state-level estimates from the data. Many larger companies have multiple sites in more than one state, so the site we have selected from your company may not be representative of your company, but is representative of similar sites in that state.
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What’s in this for my business?
The data produced by this survey and posted on the MEPS Web site can help you assess your own health insurance program. Average premiums and employee contributions are posted on the Web site by state, firm size, industry, and other business characteristics so you can compare your offerings and costs to those in similar businesses. Participating in this study also gives you an opportunity to let policymakers know about your health insurance situation and to provide objective data. Accurate information about the costs and characteristics of health plans is critical to the decision-making process.
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Can I report online?
Yes, starting with survey year 2010, all employers may choose to report online. In your questionnaire package, an Internet link and secure webkey have been provided for access to Centurion, the Census Bureauís web collection tool.
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I have returned my form. Why have I received another just like it?
We send follow-up letters and forms when the deadline passes. Your returned form and our follow-up letter and form may have crossed in the mail. If you have returned your form and receive another one just like it with the identical identification code in the address section, ignore it. Some companies receive more than one form so they can report for different lines of business or for operations in other trade areas. If that's the case, you must complete and return the form for that different line of business or other trade area as well.
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Whom do I contact if I have questions?
The phone number provided in the cover letter you received in the mail along with the Health Insurance Cost Study is the best way to contact us if you have any questions about completing the study. If you have lost or misplaced that letter, please call our general toll-free number at 1-888-206-8023.
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