Tools for Research: Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS)

Information about the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) tool for research.

What is the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS)?

MEPS is a nationally representative, longitudinal survey that collects detailed information on health status, health care use and expenditures, and health insurance coverage of individuals and families in the united States.

What child health data does MEPS contain?

MEPS reports the latest available information concerning key elements related to children's health.

  • Health insurance status of children in the United States.
  • Access to health care, with a focus on usual source of care and barriers to care.
  • Health status of children in the United States.
  • Children's immunizations, the types of doctors who treat them, and any disabilities the children have.
  • Days individuals miss from work to care for sick children or others needing care.

What questions can MEPS data answer?

MEPS is designed to help understand how the dramatic growth of managed care, changes in private health insurance, and other dynamics of today's market-driven health care delivery system have affected, and are likely to affect, the kinds, amounts, and costs of health care that Americans use. MEPS is the only source of information available for estimating the total health care costs American families face each year.

MEPS can also project who benefits from, and who bears the cost of changes to existing health policy and the creation of new policies.

Who uses MEPS data?

MEPS data are used by a wide variety of people from both the private and public sectors, including:

  • Hospitals.
  • Home health agencies.
  • Health insurance.
  • Pharmaceutical companies.
  • Industry consultants and advocates.
  • Trade associations.
  • Researchers in the academic and private sectors.
  • Federal, State, and local government agencies.

Examples of studies using MEPS data:

"Report Issued on the Health Care of America's Young." Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. Jan 2000.

How can I get MEPS data?

The first MEPS data release is now available on public use data files distributed on CD-ROMS and on the Agency's MEPS Web site at MEPS Types of Data Files. MEPS data also will be used in a series of studies to be published by AHRQ, and by Agency and other researchers publishing in the scientific literature.

Where can I get additional resources?

For further information on the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, contact:

MEPS Project Director
Center for Cost and Financing Studies, AHRQ
E-mail: mepspd@ahrq.gov

MEPS Web site MEPS Medical Expenditure Panel Survey

Chartbooks

Weigers ME, Weinick RM, Cohen JW. Children's health, 1996: health insurance, access to care, and health status. MEPS Chartbook No. 1. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. 1998.

Kass B, Weinick R, Monheit A. Racial and Ethnic Differences in Health, 1996. MEPS Chartbook No. 2. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. 1998.

Current as of February 2000
Internet Citation: Tools for Research: Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS). February 2000. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/research/findings/factsheets/tools/meps/index.html