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The American Community Survey and Health Insurance Coverage Estimates: Possibilities and Challenges for Health Policy Researchers

Objective. To introduce the American Community Survey (ACS) and its measure of health insurance coverage to researchers and policy makers.

Data Sources/Study Setting. We compare the survey designs for the ACS and Current Population Survey (CPS) that measure insurance coverage.

Study Design. We describe the ACS and how it will be useful to health policy researchers.

Principal Findings. Relative to the CPS, the ACS will provide more precise state and substate estimates of health insurance coverage at a point-in-time. Yet the ACS lacks the historical data and detailed state-specific coverage categories seen in the CPS.

Conclusions. The ACS will be a critical new resource for researchers. To use the new data to the best advantage, careful research will be needed to understand its strengths and weaknesses.

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