The CPS estimates are based on ERIU tabulations of data collected by the U.S. Census Bureau in the Current Population Survey (CPS) Annual Social and Economic Supplement, conducted in March of 2002. CPS estimates of the uninsured are intended to represent persons who are uninsured throughout calendar year 2001. A person is considered insured if they were covered at any time during that calendar year; individuals insured for only one month are counted as insured. CPS estimates of the uninsured should be interpreted with caution. Respondents are asked to report on a time period that begins roughly 15 months prior to the time of the interview. Some respondents are likely to have trouble remembering back this far, while others may be confused by the time frame and respond instead about current coverage status. Studies that have examined and compared CPS estimates with data from other surveys suggest that CPS estimates of the uninsured are much closer to "point in time" than true full-year estimates.
The MEPS estimates are ERIU tabulations of 2001 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) data collected by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). The tabulations reported here are based on responses to interview Rounds 3, 4, and 5 of Panel 5 and Rounds 1, 2, and 3 of Panel 6, which cover calendar year 2001 for both panels. Respondents report whether they were covered by any public or private source of health insurance (Medicare, Medicaid, SCHIP, TRICARE/CHAMPUS, other public coverage, employment-based private, other private health insurance). Respondents are considered uninsured if they respond "no" to all of the coverage options; they are not asked directly if they are uninsured. We label those who are without health insurance for the entire year as "all-year uninsured," and those without health insurance for at least one month and up to twelve months as "ever uninsured." The "point-in-time uninsured" estimates include those without coverage in the first round of the calendar year (Round 3 for those who entered the survey in 2000, and Round 1 for those who entered the survey in 2001).
discussion of issues related
to counting the uninsured
and Characterizing the Uninsured," (Adobe
PDF) by Pamela Farley Short,
and ERIU Research
Highlight 1: A Revolving
Door: How Individuals Move
In and Out of Health Insurance
Coverage (Adobe PDF)
Notes on CPS Data Source and Variables (PDF)
Notes on MEPS Data Source and Variables (PDF)