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AHRQ Releases Preliminary 1996 MEPS Data on Medical Expenditures

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Press Release Date: January 4, 2000

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), formerly the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research, has released preliminary 1996 data on medical expenditures from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) Household Component. Each record from the 22,601 respondents includes total expenditure and payments by source for a variety of health care events such as hospital stays; emergency room, outpatient and home health care; visits to clinicians or dentists; and use of durable medical equipment and prescribed medicines. The data file also includes information such as personal income and use of medical care throughout the year.

This data release is one in a series of public use files which can be used to make nationally-representative estimates of utilization and expenditures for medical care incurred in 1996 by the U.S. civilian non-institutionalized population. This file can be merged with all previously released 1996 data files to obtain information on demographic characteristics, individual medical conditions, or health insurance. Future data releases will include details about specific health events such as doctors' office visits and hospital stays. Data on prescription medications were released on December 13.

MEPS is an ongoing, national survey of the health care experience of the U.S. population. It collects information on the medical care Americans use and how that care is paid for, as well as insurance coverage. The files can be accessed through the MEPS Web site at

For additional information, contact AHRQ Public Affairs, (301) 427-1364: Karen Carp, (301) 427-1858 (; Karen Migdail, (301) 427-1855 (

The information on this page is archived and provided for reference purposes only.


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