The Medical Expenditure Panel Survey: a national health information resource

Inquiry. 1996-1997 Winter;33(4):373-89.


This article describes the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS), the third in a series of nationally representative surveys of medical care use and expenditures sponsored by the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research. The MEPS is designed to provide extensive data on the types of health care services American use, how frequently they use them, how much is paid for the services, and who pays for them. It also will provide information on the types and costs of private health insurance available to the U.S. population. The survey is unparalleled in its degree of detail, as well as its ability to link medical care use, payments, and health insurance coverage to specific survey respondents and their families. It allows analysts to examine how individual and family characteristics, including the characteristics of their health insurance, affect medical care use and spending. This article discusses each of the MEPS components, focusing on design enhancements that have been made since the survey was last conducted nearly a decade ago.

MeSH terms

  • Data Collection / methods
  • Data Collection / statistics & numerical data
  • Health Benefit Plans, Employee / statistics & numerical data
  • Health Care Surveys*
  • Health Expenditures* / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Insurance, Health / statistics & numerical data
  • Nursing Homes / statistics & numerical data
  • Reimbursement Mechanisms / statistics & numerical data
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States
  • United States Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality