Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS)

Maintained/created by: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)
Geographic unit of data: U.S. national, U.S. state, U.S. city

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Users can customize table and download data sets to gather information on Americans’ use and experience of health care and on the costs associated with health care.

MEPS is a series of large scale surveys designed to increase understanding of Americans use of health care and the cost of that care. Data is collected on the frequency and type of care, cost of health care and how it is paid for, and health insurance. There are two components to MEPS- the Household Component gathers information from individuals, families and medical providers, and the Insurance Component gathers information from employers to gain understanding on employer-based health insurance. Examples of information from both components includes, but is not limited to: health conditions, health status, satisfaction with care, demographics, insurance plans offered, premiums, and benefits.

Database Capabilities
There are a variety of ways that users can interface with MEPS data. To download summary data tables from the Household Component, users can specify the year of interest (or use all available years) and then specify the table series from a drop down list. To download summary data tables from the Insurance Component, users must first choose between national level and state/ metro area level information. They can then determine the specific year and table series to gather the data on the topic of interest to them. MEPS also has a Query Tools section that allows users to customize the year, variables, records and descriptive statistics and how the data is presented. Finally, some portions of the data sets are available to download.

Data Notes
MEPS provides a schedule of when specific pieces of data will be released. The surveys began in 1996 and have since been conducted annually. The most recent data is from 2006, while some portions of the 2009 data have been released. The sample is considered to be nationally representative of households in the United States.