DOWNLOAD Disability
Status Reports

Home  /   Data Sources  /   Rehabilitation Dataset Directory: Search  /   Dataset Profile
Center for Large Data Research & Data Sharing in Rehabilitation

Rehabilitation Dataset Directory: Dataset Profile

Dataset: Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS)

Basic Information
Dataset full name: Medical Expenditure Panel Survey
Dataset acronym MEPS
Summary The MEPS is a multi-component national probability sample survey of individuals, families, health care providers, and employers across the United States. This survey was initiated in 1996 with the purpose of providing national-level estimates of health care utilization, health care access, expenditures, and health insurance coverage of the non-institutionalized U.S. civilian population. The MEPS has three major components: (1) MEPS Household Component - MEPS HC; (2) MEPS Medical Provider Component - MEPS MPC; and (3) MEPS Insurance/Employer Component - MEPS IC. The MEPS HC has been extensively used by researchers as it is a public-use dataset containing key variables of interest; all other MEPS components are only available as restricted-use files.
Key Terms Health Care Expenditure, Health Care Access, Health Care Utilization, Health Insurance and Coverage, Chronic Conditions
Study Design Longitudinal
Data Type(s) Survey
Sponsoring Agency/Entity Department of Health and Human Services (HHS): Agency for Health care Research and Quality (AHRQ)
Health conditions/Disability measures
Health condition(s) Diabetes, Cardiovascular conditions, Neurological conditions, Malignancies, Arthritis, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, Chronic pain, etc.
Disability Measures ADL and IADL measures of functional limitations, Sensory disability, Physical disability, Mental health disability, Intellectual disability
Measures/outcomes of interest
Topics Health care expenditure, Out-of-pocket payments, Health insurance, Health care access and utilization, Emergency room visits, Inpatient visits, Hospital stay, Dental visits, Outpatient visits, Outpatient procedures, Employment, Obesity, Health behaviors
Sample Population Civilian households & non-institutionalized group quarters
Sample Size/Notes 32,320 persons completed the HC survey across 11,918 households in 2005. The MEPS HC is a sub-sample of previous years' NHIS households with oversampling of low-income households.
Unit of Observation Individual
Geographic Coverage National
Geographic specificity National-level estimates; some state-level estimates possible with pooling of data across several years (may not be very reliable)
Data Collection
Data Collection Mode In-person interviews administered to household representative (age equal to or greater than age of majority) by trained interviewers from U.S. Census Bureau - one random sample adult from household is interviewed to document adult health status and data i
Years Collected 1996 - present
Data Collection Frequency Annual - overlapping panel design with each panel spread across two years with five rounds of data collection
Strengths and limitations
Strengths Only nationally representative dataset collecting information on health care use, expenditure, access to health care and health insurance, ADL and IADL variables. Self-reported medical conditions coded into ICD-9 format allowing a better understanding of disease condition. Detailed information on jobs held. longitudinal panel design allows for estimating changes over two year period for each panel. NHIS MEPS linkages provides further follow-up on common areas. Oversampling of individuals below 200% of the Federal Poverty Line (FPL) provides better estimate of this group.
Limitations Only national level statistics, state-level possible by pooling data cross years, but not very reliable. Does not include population living in institutionalized group quarters. IC and MPC components are restricted user files and difficult to access.
Data details
Primary Website
Data Access
Data Access Requirements Public Use Dataset: HC files Data Use agreement, No cost: HC files with fully-specified ICD9 diagnostic codes and all IC, MPC files
Summary Tables/reports
Dataset components (where applicable) MEPS HC
Selected papers
Technical Multiple technical reports on sample-size and variance estimation methods
Other Papers

Ask Our Researchers

Have a question about rehabilitation datasets? Contact our researchers for technical assistance, log in or register.

The Rehabilitation Research Cross-dataset Variable Catalog has been developed through the Center for Large Data Research & Data Sharing in Rehabilitation (CLDR). The Center for Large Data Research and Data Sharing in Rehabilitation involves a consortium of investigators from the University of Texas Medical Branch, Cornell University's Yang Tan Institute (YTI), and the University of Michigan. The CLDR is funded by NIH - National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, through the National Center for Medical Rehabilitation Research, the National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke, and the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering. (P2CHD065702).

Other CLDR supported resources and collaborative opportunities:

Acknowledgements: This tool was developed through the efforts of William Erickson and Arun Karpur, and web designers Jason Criss and Jeff Trondsen at Cornell University. Many thanks to graduate students Kyoung Jo Oh and Yeong Joon Yoon who developed much of the content used in this tool.

For questions or comments please contact

© 2016 Cornell University. All rights reserved.