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Understanding the New Current Population Survey Health Insurance Questions

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Keywords: Insurance; redesign; experiment; measurement error.

Objective: To compare estimates of health coverage from the pre- and post- redesign of the Current Population Survey (CPS) Annual Social and Economic Supplement.

Data Sources/Study Setting: The CPS 2013 Content Test.

Study Design: A test of the old and new CPS in which the control panel was a subset of the CPS production cases interviewed by phone and the test panel was conducted in parallel (also by phone) with a sample that had already completed the final rotation of the CPS. Outcome variables tested include uninsured and coverage type by subgroup and calendar year versus point-in-time estimates.

Data Collection/Extraction Methods: Census Bureau telephone interviewers.

Principal Findings:The odds of having coverage in the past calendar year were higher under the new than the old CPS. Within the new CPS, calendar year estimates of coverage were higher than and distinct from point-in-time estimates. There were few statistically significant differences in coverage across demographic subgroups.

Conclusions: The new method reduced presumed underreporting of past year coverage, and the integrated point-in-time/calendar-year series effectively generated distinct measures of each within the same questionnaire.

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