Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS): Experiences with Cancer Survivorship Supplement
What is the MEPS?
The Medical Expenditure Panel Survey
(MEPS) is a nationally representative survey of the civilian
noninstitutionalized population of all ages in the US. Conducted by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
(AHRQ), the MEPS collects comprehensive data on health care utilization and
expenditures. Data are collected over five rounds of in-person interviews that
cover a consecutive two-year period. Each MEPS panel is a subsample of the prior
year National Health Interview Survey
What is the MEPS Experiences with Cancer Survivorship Supplement?
The National Cancer Institute (NCI) is collaborating with the American
Cancer Society (ACS), the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the NIH Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences
Research (OBSSR), LIVESTRONG, and the AHRQ to provide supplemental funding to the MEPS to
improve the quality of data for estimating the cancer survivorship burden in the
United States. Using responses to the NHIS question about cancer diagnoses,
households with cancer survivors will be oversampled for selection in the
The increased sample of cancer survivors will improve national estimates of
the burden of cancer, particularly medical care expenditures for patients of all
ages. Additionally, this collaborative group developed a targeted
questionnaire, Experiences with Cancer, to further understand the burden of
cancer, its treatment and impact on access to health care, the ability to work
and participate in usual activities, health insurance, and quality of care.
What types of studies could be done with the Cancer Survivorship Supplement
to the MEPS?
Availability of these data will allow scientists to use the MEPS data for
many types of studies of the burden of cancer in the United States. Studies can
be either cross-sectional or longitudinal across the MEPS interviews.
Participants in the MEPS can also be linked back to their data in the NHIS.
Specific cancer survivorship research questions that can be addressed with
the MEPS data and data from the supplemental questionnaire include:
- financial burden,
- access to medical care,
- employment and employment patterns,
- health care utilization and expenditures, and
- use of prescription drugs by cancer survivors.
When will the data be publicly available?
The data from the Experiences with Cancer survey will be available to the
public in 2013. However, data from the 2009 MEPS is currently publicly available
for researchers. Please see the MEPS
Web site for more information.
Why is this research a priority for NCI?
A major component of the NCI's mission is measuring and understanding the
burden of cancer and its care in the United States. To help fulfill this
mission, the Health Services and Economics Branch (HSEB) supports the
development and dissemination of data resources, survey and measurement
techniques, and analytical methods with the goal of improving the quality of
research in this field and ultimately reducing the burden of cancer to patients,
their families, and society.
The linked SEER-Medicare database
is a major data source for studies of cancer care and descriptive and
treatment-specific cost estimates. These data come from the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results
(SEER) program of cancer registries that collect clinical, demographic, and
cause of death information for persons with cancer and the Medicare claims for
covered health care services from the time of a person's Medicare eligibility
However, estimates from SEER-Medicare are based on the elderly population.
Additionally, SEER-Medicare does not include information about health care
coverage from payors other than Medicare, including private payors, Medicaid,
the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and patient out-of-pocket payments.
National information about costs of care in younger cancer survivors, and
comprehensive information about all types of health insurance in cancer
survivors of all ages, is lacking. The ability to utilize the MEPS data to
better understand the burden of illness in cancer survivors will help to address
these research gaps and complement existing research resources.