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Sept 6 -- The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) invites comments by November 7, 2022 on its plan to request that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) reapprove the proposed information collection project: “Medical Expenditure Panel Survey—Insurance Component.”

In 2021 employer-sponsored health insurance was the source of coverage for 90.5 million current and former workers, plus many of their family members, and is a cornerstone of the U.S. health care system. The Medical Expenditure Panel Survey—Insurance Component (MEPS-IC) measures the extent, cost, and coverage of employer-sponsored health insurance on an annual basis. These statistics are produced at the National, State, and sub-State (metropolitan area) level for private industry. Statistics are also produced for State and Local governments.

This research has the following goals:

(1) to provide data for Federal policymakers evaluating the effects of National and State health care reforms.
(2) to provide descriptive data on the current employer-sponsored health insurance system and data for modeling the differential impacts of proposed health policy initiatives.
(3) to supply critical State and National estimates of health insurance spending for the National Health Accounts and Gross Domestic Product.

This study is being conducted by AHRQ through the Bureau of the Census, pursuant to AHRQ's statutory authority to conduct and support research on healthcare and on systems for the delivery of such care, including activities with respect to the cost and use of health care services and with respect to health statistics and surveys.

To achieve the goals of this project the following data collections for both private sector and state and local government employers will be implemented:

(1) Prescreener Questionnaire—The purpose of the Prescreener Questionnaire, which is collected via telephone, varies depending on the insurance status of the establishment contacted (establishment is defined as a single, physical location in the private sector and a governmental unit in state and local governments). For establishments that do not offer health insurance to their employees, the prescreener is used to collect basic information such as number of employees. Collection is completed for these establishments through this telephone call. For establishments that do offer health insurance, contact name and address information is collected that is used for the mailout of the establishment and plan questionnaires. Obtaining this contact information helps ensure that the questionnaires are directed to the person in the establishment best equipped to complete them.

(2) Establishment Questionnaire—The purpose of the mailed Establishment Questionnaire is to obtain general information from employers that provide health insurance to their employees. Information such as total active enrollment in health insurance, other employee benefits, demographic characteristics of employees, and retiree health insurance is collected through the establishment questionnaire.

(3) Plan Questionnaire—The purpose of the mailed Plan Questionnaire is to collect plan-specific information on each plan (up to four plans) offered by establishments that provide health insurance to their employees. This questionnaire obtains information on total premiums, employer and employee contributions to the premium, and plan enrollment for each type of coverage offered—single, employee-plus-one, and family—within a plan. It also asks for information on deductibles, copays, and other plan characteristics.

The primary objective of the MEPS-IC is to collect information on employer-sponsored health insurance. Such information is needed in order to provide the tools for Federal, State, and academic researchers to evaluate current and proposed health policies and to support the production of important statistical measures for other Federal agencies.

MEPS--Insurance Component, including current survey instruments and technical documentation: https://meps.ahrq.gov/survey_comp/Insurance.jsp
Draft information collection instruments and technical documentation: https://www.dropbox.com/s/ctfqulzen8ec56s/fwdrafticrrequestmedicalexpenditurepanelsurveyins.zip?dl=0
FRN: https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2022-19113

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