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New MEPS publications now available from AHRQ

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has released two new publications from the Agency's Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS). MEPS is the third in a series of nationally representative surveys of medical care use and expenditures sponsored by AHRQ. MEPS is cosponsored by the National Center for Health Statistics. The first survey, the National Medical Care Expenditure Survey (NMCES) was conducted in 1977, and the second survey, the National Medical Expenditure Survey (NMES) was carried out in 1987. MEPS began in 1996 and is ongoing.

MEPS collects detailed information on health care use and expenses, sources of payment, and insurance coverage of individuals and families in the United States. MEPS comprises four component surveys: the Household Component, the Medical Provider Component, the Insurance Component, and the Nursing Home Component.

The following two MEPS publications are now available from the AHRQ Publications Clearinghouse.

Health Care Expenses for Injuries: Estimates from the 1997 MEPS. MEPS Research Findings No. 19. Krauss, N.A., Machlin, S.R., and Adams, G.A. AHRQ Publication No. 04-0005.

Using data from the 1997 MEPS Household Component, the authors of this report examined the health care costs of injury-related conditions. An estimated $57.9 billion was spent in 1997 on injury-related conditions for the U.S. civilian noninstitutionalized population. Approximately 62 million people were reported to have had an injury-related condition. Seventy percent of the people with an injury-related condition (43 million people) had a medical expense related to that condition. This report gives estimates of injury-related expenses for inpatient hospital services and ambulatory medical care services by age, sex, race, health insurance, and poverty level. Injury-related expenses as a proportion of total medical expenses and mean and median expenses are also discussed. The proportion of expenses for injury and noninjury medical care paid by various sources, including out-of-pocket, Medicare, Medicaid, private insurance, and Workers' Compensation, are also compared.

Dental Services: Use, Expenses, and Sources of Payment, 1996-2000. MEPS Research Findings No. 20. Brown, E., and Manski, R. AHRQ Publication No. 04-0018.

The authors of this report used MEPS data to characterize how the civilian noninstitutionalized population used and paid for dental care from 1996 through 2000. The report emphasizes changes over time. Information is presented on the percent of people with any use of dental services each year as well as the average number of visits per year. Estimates include annual expenses and sources of payment (including out-of-pocket amounts) for the total population as well as for specific population groups categorized in terms of insurance coverage, income, employment, and Census region.

Editor's Note: To find out about other recently released MEPS products, including MEPS data, statistical briefs, and other MEPS products, visit the MEPS Web site "What's New."

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