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Counting Uninsurance and Means-Tested Coverage in the American Community Survey: A Comparison to the Current Population Survey

Keywords: Health insurance coverage; state health policy; current population survey; American community survey

Objective. To compare health insurance coverage estimates from the American Community Survey (ACS) to the Current Population Survey (CPS-ASEC).

Data Sources/Study Setting. The 2008 ACS and CPS-ASEC, 2009.

Study Design. We compare age-specific national rates for all coverage types and state-level rates of uninsurance and means-tested coverage. We assess differences using t-tests and p-values, which are reported at <.05, <.01,="<.01," and="and" <.001.="<.001." an="an" f-test="f-test" determines="determines" whether="whether" differences="differences" significantly="significantly" varied="varied" by="by" state.</p="state.</p">

Principal Findings. Despite substantial design differences, we find only modest differences in coverage estimates between the surveys. National direct purchase and state-level means-tested coverage levels for children show the largest differences.

Conclusions. We suggest that the ACS is well poised to become a useful tool to health services researchers and policy analysts, but that further study is needed to identify sources of error and to quantify its bias.

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