Understanding the current population survey’s insurance estimates and the medicaid ‘undercount’: People can’t accurately recall their insurance status when asked by the census bureau’s survey takers—so these widely quoted estimates may be substantially off

Jacob A. Klerman, Michael Davern, Kathleen Thiede Call, Victoria Lynch, Jeanne D. Ringel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations

Abstract

The widely cited Census Bureau estimates of the number of uninsured people, based on the Current Population Survey, probably overstate the number of uninsured people. This is because of a Medicaid “undercount”: Fewer people report to survey takers that they’re covered by Medicaid than program administrative data show are enrolled. Our study finds that the undercount can be explained by the inability of people to recall their insurance status accurately from the previous year. We suggest that other data sources, such as Census’s American Community Survey, should be studied to determine whether they would provide better estimates of the uninsured.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)w991-w1001
JournalHealth Affairs
Volume28
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 10 2009

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This paper was made possible by the careful data work of the U.S. Bureau of the Census, by Grant no. 052084 from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to the State Health Access Data Assistance Center (SHADAC; Michael Davern, principal investigator), and by internal funding from Abt Associates. The views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of Abt Associates, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, SHADAC, RAND, or the Urban Institute.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2009 Project HOPE–The People-to-People Health Foundation, Inc.

Copyright:
Copyright 2019 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

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