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New MEPS reports are now available from AHRQ

Several new reports are now available from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS). MEPS is the third in a series of nationally representative surveys of medical care use and expenditures sponsored by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. MEPS is cosponsored by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). 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 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 two publications described here are newly released from the MEPS program. Copies are available from the AHRQ Publications Clearinghouse.

Disparities and Gender Gaps in Women's Health, 1996. MEPS Chartbook No. 8 (AHRQ Publication No. 02-0003). Kass-Bartelmes, B.L., Altman, B.M., and Taylor, A.K.

This report presents charts showing estimates of health insurance, access to care and use of care, and health status among women of different ages and racial/ethnic groups in America, as well as differences between men and women. In 1996, Hispanic women were more likely than women in any other racial/ethnic group to be uninsured, young women (ages 18 to 29) were less likely than others to be without a usual source of care, and Hispanic and black women were more likely than white women to be in fair or poor health. Medicaid enrollment for women increased from 1987 to 1996. Compared with men, higher proportions of women were covered by Medicaid in both 1987 and 1996; women had higher total health care expenses for ambulatory care, prescription medicines, and home health services in 1996; and women were more likely than men to have functional limitations in 1996.

These estimates are drawn from the MEPS Household Component and the 1987 National Medical Expenditure Survey and are available from the AHRQ Publications Clearinghouse.

Women in the Health Care System: Health Status, Insurance, and Access to Care. MEPS Research Findings 17 (AHRQ Publication No. 02-0004). Altman, B.M., and Taylor A.K.

This report focuses on adult noninstitutionalized women in the United States in 1996. In terms of health status, the report shows perceived health, mental health, and the presence of a number of different limitations. Health insurance status is examined in terms of whether women are publicly insured, privately insured, or uninsured and whether insured women are policyholders or dependents. Data on women's usual source of health care, use of ambulatory care services, and use of selected preventive services are used to examine access to care. The report does not compare women's health to men's health but instead looks at the health status of women by various demographic and health characteristics that may be associated with disparities in access to care or other disadvantages in the health care system, including a measure that combines marital status, presence of children in the household, and age of children. The estimates shown come from the MEPS Household Component.

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