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June 22 -- The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Health and Human Services (HHS), invites comments to OMB by July 24, 2023 regarding the 2024 Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey (MCBS).

CMS is the largest single payer of health care in the United States. The agency plays a direct or indirect role in administering health insurance coverage for more than 120 million people across the Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP, and Exchange populations. A critical aim for CMS is to be an effective steward, major force, and trustworthy partner in supporting innovative approaches to improving quality, accessibility, and affordability in healthcare. CMS also aims to put patients first in the delivery of their health care needs.

The Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey (MCBS) is the most comprehensive and complete survey available on the Medicare population and is essential in capturing data not otherwise collected through our operations. The MCBS is a nationally-representative, longitudinal survey of Medicare beneficiaries that we sponsor and is directed by the Office of Enterprise Data and Analytics (OEDA). MCBS data collection includes both in-person and phone interviewing. The survey captures beneficiary information whether aged or disabled, living in the community or facility, or serviced by managed care or fee-for-service. Data produced as part of the MCBS are enhanced with our administrative data (e.g., fee-for-service claims, prescription drug event data, enrollment, etc.) to provide users with more accurate and complete estimates of total health care costs and utilization. The MCBS has been continuously fielded for more than 30 years, encompassing over 1.2 million interviews and more than 140,000 survey participants. Respondents participate in up to 11 interviews over a four-year period. This gives a comprehensive picture of health care costs and utilization over a period of time.

The MCBS continues to provide unique insight into the Medicare program and helps CMS and our external stakeholders better understand and evaluate the impact of existing programs and significant new policy initiatives. In the past, MCBS data have been used to assess potential changes to the Medicare program. For example, the MCBS was instrumental in supporting the development and implementation of the Medicare prescription drug benefit by providing a means to evaluate prescription drug costs and out-of-pocket burden for these drugs to Medicare beneficiaries.  

The purpose of this revision is to seek approval for CMS to add 14 new items to the MCBS Community questionnaires beginning in 2024. The impact of the additional content is offset by deletion of content no longer relevant. The new items cover important topics including:

● One question on beneficiary use of cannabidiol (CBD) to manage pain,
● One question on Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participation,  
● Two questions on Veterans Affairs (VA) health care enrollment and utilization,
● Five questions on prevalence of bowel incontinence, and
● Five questions on oral health-related quality of life.

This clearance request also documents deletions to the Community and Facility instruments related to COVID-19 content that is no longer relevant for administration. The estimated total respondent burden beginning in 2024 will be reduced as a result. This revision also includes updated respondent materials intended to increase understanding of the survey and thus, improve participation.  

MCBS: https://www.cms.gov/research-statistics-data-and-systems/research/mcbs
CMS submission to OMB: https://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAViewICR?ref_nbr=202306-0938-009 Click IC List for information collection instrument, View Supporting Statement for technical documentation. Submit comments through this webpage.
FRN: https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2023-13199

For AEA members wishing to submit comments, "A Primer on How to Respond to Calls for Comment on Federal Data Collections" is available at https://www.aeaweb.org/content/file?id=5806

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