Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS)


The Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS), which began in 1996, is a set of large-scale surveys of families and individuals, their medical providers (doctors, hospitals, pharmacies, etc.), and employers across the United States. MEPS collects data on the specific health services that Americans use, how frequently they use them, the cost of these services, and how they are paid for, as well as data on the cost, scope, and breadth of health insurance held by and available to U.S. workers.

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MEPS is the most complete source of data on the cost and use of health care in the United States and on U.S. health insurance coverage. As the U.S. implements the Affordable Care Act, MEPS is an indispensible tool for tracking progress in the effort to expand access to health care and insurance coverage.


The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)


MEPS is a family of three interrelated surveys: the Household Component (MEPS-HC), the Medical Provider Component (MEPS-MPC), and the Insurance Component (MEPS-IC). MEPS-HC provides data from individual household members, which are supplemented by a survey of these individuals’ providers of care (the MEPS-MPC). MEPS-IC is a separate survey of employers that provides data on employer-based health insurance.


MEPS has been used extensively in scientific publications and published reports, as well as by the Federal and State governments, to examine the delivery and financing of health care in the United States.


MEPS surveys the civilian noninstitutionalized U.S. population. It describes health care coverage, use, and expenditures in the following settings of care: hospital inpatient; all types of ambulatory medical care, including hospital outpatient, office-based,  dental, and home care.

Information Gathered in the Surveys

MEPS-HC gathers data on individuals’ health status, health conditions, medical events, charges and payments, employment, health insurance coverage, income, access to and satisfaction with care, and opinions preference with regard to medical care.  MEPS-MPC gathers information on MEPS-HC respondents’ medical expenditures, sources of payment, medical diagnoses, and procedures. MEPS-IC gathers data on the health plans provided by public and private employers, including premiums, employee contributions, and total costs to the organization.

Access to MEPS Data

MEPS-HC data are available on the MEPS Web site in data tables, downloadable data files, annually projected expenditures through 2016, and interactive data tools. MEPS-IC estimates are available on the MEPS Web site in tabular form for national, regional, state, and metropolitan areas. An AHRQ data center allows researchers with approved projects access to data files not available for public dissemination.


Publications include more than 400 statistical briefs on topics of interest to the general public.

Collaborating Agencies

The National Center for Health Statistics and the U.S. Census Bureau.

Page last reviewed August 2013
Page originally created August 2013
Internet Citation: Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS). Content last reviewed August 2013. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.
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