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Finding Datasets for Secondary Analysis

MEPS Overview

Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) is the only national data source measuring how Americans use and pay for medical care, health insurance, and out-of-pocket spending. Annual surveys of individuals and families, as well as their health care providers, provide data on health status, the use of medical services, charges, insurance coverage, and satisfaction with care. It allows the calculation of valid estimates of health care costs, utilization, and insurance coverage and access at the national level and within the four Census regions (Northeast, Midwest, South and West). Conducted by AHRQ.

MEPS Components


1. Household Component (HC)

  • A survey that collects data on all members of a sampled household or family; Conducted since 1996
  • Topics covered include family demographics, health conditions, health status, health care utilization, including hospital stays, ED and OPD visits, physician visit, dental care, home health care, prescription and over-the counter medications and other medical expenses, health care charges and payments, health insurance, household income and assets and employment
  • Only Household Component is available for public use. Access  MEPSnet/HC to generate statistics using HC public use files. 


2. Medical Provider Component (MPC)

  • Collects data from hospitals, physicians, and home health care providers
  • Info that can be used to estimate the expenses of people enrolled in managed care plans


3. Insurance Component (IC)

  • Consists of two parts:
    • the household sample – a survey of residents to the HC and collects detailed information on insurance offered to and held by,  members of those households.
    • the list sample – gathers information about the amount, types and costs of health insurance available from employers, through a survey of a sample of business establishments and government sin the US


4.  Nursing Home Component (NHC)

  • Conducted only in 1991; Gathered info from a sample of nursing homes and residents
  • Information gathers from facilities included size, ownership, and staffing
  • Info gathered from residents included demographics, medical conditions, health status and insurance


MEPSnet is an online, menu-driven data analysis interface that allows users to create tables and compute simple statistic using HC and IC data. Data are available from the years 1996-1999.

Use the MEPSnet tools to search for or generate specific estimates of interest for either the MEPS-HC or MEPS-IC.