All of the 1996-latest data year completed MEPS/NHIS link files are available through the data center. Each MEPS/NHIS link file contains a crosswalk that allows data users to merge MEPS Full-Year public use files (PUFs) to NHIS person-level public use data files that contain data collected for MEPS respondents in the year prior to their initial year of MEPS participation.
Specifically, the MEPS/NHIS link file contains a cross-walk that will enable data users to merge the MEPS Full-Year Population Characteristics PUF, or similarly, the MEPS Full-Year Consolidated PUF, with the NHIS prior two data years person-level PUFs that contain data collected for MEPS respondents in the year prior to their initial year of MEPS participation. In each link file, a record exists for each person in the MEPS Full-Year PUFs. Sample persons in NHIS that do not link to any MEPS sample persons are not represented in the link file. Sample persons in the MEPS file who do not link with the prior data year 1 NHIS or prior data year 2 NHIS respondent person sample have values of 999999, 99, and 99 for the NHIS link IDs, HHX, FMX, and FPX, respectively. The MEPS-HC collects data through an overlapping panel design. The MEPS Full-Year PUFs covers the calendar year of the data year and contains data from Rounds 3, 4, and 5 of the MEPS first panel (which uses the NHIS prior data year 1 as its sampling frame) combined with data from Rounds 1, 2, and 3 of the MEPS second panel (which uses the NHIS prior data year 2 as its sampling frame).
For reasons of confidentiality, the MEPS/NHIS link files are available only through the AHRQ Data Center. Additionally, qualified researchers can also access the MEPS/NHIS link files through the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) Data Center (RDC) network (http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nhis/nhismep.htm), and the U.S. Census Research Data Center (RDC) network (http://www.census.gov/ces/dataproducts/index.htm). Documentation for the latest data year MEPS/NHIS link file, however, is available in the online data files.