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Agency Information Collection Activities: Proposed Collection; Comment Request

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, HHS.




This notice announces the intention of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) to request that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) reapprove the proposed information collection project: “Medical Expenditure Panel Survey—Insurance Component.”

This proposed information collection was previously published in the Federal Register on April 28, 2017, and allowed 60 days for public comment. No substantive comments were received; however changes have been made to the burden estimates in Exhibit 1, resulting in an increase of 1,316 burden hours. The purpose of this notice is to allow an additional 30 days for public comment.


Comments on this notice must be received by August 28, 2017.


Written comments should be submitted to: AHRQ's OMB Desk Officer by fax at (202) 395-6974 (attention: AHRQ's desk officer) or by email at (attention: AHRQ's desk officer).

Copies of the proposed collection plans, data collection instruments, and specific details on the estimated burden can be obtained from the AHRQ Reports Clearance Officer.

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Doris Lefkowitz, AHRQ Reports Clearance Officer, (301) 427-1477, or by email at

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Proposed Project

Medical Expenditure Panel Survey—Insurance Component

In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act, 44 U.S.C. 3501-3521, AHRQ invites the public to comment on this proposed information collection. Employer-sponsored health insurance is the source of coverage for 84.4 million current and former workers, plus many of their family members, and is a cornerstone of the U.S. health care system. The Medical Expenditure Panel Survey—Insurance Component (MEPS-IC) measures the extent, cost, and coverage of employer-sponsored health insurance on an annual basis. These statistics for private industry are produced at the National, State, and sub-State (metropolitan area) level. Statistics are also produced for State and Local governments.

This research has the following goals:

(1) Provide data for Federal policymakers evaluating the effects of National and State health care reforms.

(2) Provide descriptive data on the current employer-sponsored health insurance system and data for modeling the differential impacts of proposed health policy initiatives.

(3) Supply critical State and National estimates of health insurance spending for the National Health Accounts and Gross Domestic Product.

The MEPS-IC is conducted pursuant to AHRQ's statutory authority to conduct surveys to collect data on the cost, use and quality of health care, including types and costs of private insurance, 42 U.S.C. 299b-2(a), and to conduct research on health care, 42 U.S.C. 299a.

Method of Collection

To achieve the goals of this project, following data collections will be implemented for both private sector and state and local government employers:

(1) Pre-screener Questionnaire—The purpose of the Pre-screener Questionnaire, which is collected via telephone, varies depending on the insurance status of the establishment contacted. Establishment is defined as a single, physical location in the private sector and a governmental unit in state and local governments. For establishments that do not offer health insurance to their employees, the Pre-screener Questionnaire is used to collect basic information, such as number of employees. For establishments that do offer health insurance, the Pre-screener Questionnaire collects contact name and address information for the person in the establishment best equipped to complete the full questionnaire.

(2) Establishment Questionnaire—The purpose of the mailed Establishment Questionnaire is to obtain general information from employers that provide health insurance to their employees, including total active enrollment in health insurance, other employee benefits, demographic characteristics of employees, and retiree health insurance.

(3) Plan Questionnaire—The purpose of the mailed Plan Questionnaire is to collect plan-specific information on each plan (up to four plans) offered by establishments. This questionnaire obtains information on total premiums, employer and employee contributions to the premium, and plan enrollment for each type of coverage offered—single, employee-plus-one, and family—within a plan. It also asks for information on deductibles, copays, and other plan characteristics.

The primary objective of the MEPS-IC is to collect information on employer-sponsored health insurance. Such information is needed in order to provide the tools for Federal, State, and academic researchers to evaluate current and proposed health policies and to support the production of important statistical measures for other Federal agencies.

Estimated Annual Respondent Burden

Exhibit 1 shows the estimated annualized burden hours for the respondent's time to participate in the MEPS-IC. The Pre-screener questionnaire will be completed by 30,041 respondents and takes 5 minutes to complete. The Establishment questionnaire will be completed by 25,914 respondents and takes 23 minutes to complete. The Plan questionnaire will be completed by 22,943 respondents and will require an average of 2.5 responses per respondent. Each Plan questionnaire takes 11 minutes to complete. The total annualized burden hours are estimated to be 22,952 hours.

Exhibit 2 shows the estimated annualized cost burden associated with the respondents' time to participate in this data collection. The annualized cost burden is estimated to be $733,776.

Exhibit 1—Estimated Annualized Burden Hours for the 2018-2019 MEPS-IC

Form nameNumber of respondentsNumber of responses per respondentHours per responseTotal burden hours
Prescreener Questionnaire30,04115/602,503
Establishment Questionnaire25,9141* 23/609,934
Plan Questionnaire22,9432.511/6010,515
* The burden estimate printed on the establishment questionnaire is 45 minutes which includes the burden estimate for completing the establishment questionnaire and two plan questionnaires (on average, each establishment completes 2.5 plan questionnaires). The establishment and plan questionnaires are sent to the respondent as a package and are completed by the respondent at the same time.

Exhibit 2—Estimated Annualized Cost Burden for the 2018-2019 MEPS-IC

Form nameNumber of respondentsTotal burden hoursAverage hourly wage rate *Total cost burden
Prescreener Questionnaire30,0412,50331.97$80,021
Establishment Questionnaire25,9149,93431.97317,590
Plan Questionnaire22,94310,51531.97336,165
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* Based upon the mean hourly wage for Compensation, Benefits, and Job Analysis Specialists occupation code 13-1141, at​oes/​current/​oes131141.htm (U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.)

Request for Comments

In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act, comments on AHRQ's information collection are requested with regard to any of the following: (a) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of AHRQ health care research and health care information dissemination functions, including whether the information will have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of AHRQ's estimate of burden (including hours and costs) of the proposed collection(s) of information; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information upon the respondents, including the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology.

Comments submitted in response to this notice will be summarized and included in the Agency's subsequent request for OMB approval of the proposed information collection. All comments will become a matter of public record.

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Sharon B. Arnold,

Deputy Director.

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[FR Doc. 2017-15884 Filed 7-27-17; 8:45 am]