[Federal Register Volume 62, Number 245 (Monday, December 22, 1997)]
[Pages 66870-66871]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 97-33253]

[[Page 66870]]



Agency for Health Care Policy and Research

Agency Information Collection Activities: Proposed Collection; 
Comment Request

AGENCY: Agency for Health Care Policy and Research, HHS.

ACTION: Notice.


SUMMARY: This notice announces that the Agency for Health Care Policy 
and Research (AHCPR) is planning to request the Office of Management 
and Budget (OMB) to allow a proposed information collection project of 
``Medical Expenditure Panel Survey--Insurance Component (MEPS-IC) for 
1998 and 1999.'' In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 
1995, Pub. L. 104-13 (44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(2)(A)), AHCPR invites the 
public to comment on this proposed information collection.
    This proposed information collection was previously published in 
the Federal Register on October 6, 1997 and allowed 60 days for public 
comment. As a result, public comments were received. The purpose of 
this notice is to allow an additional 30 days for public comment.

DATES: Comments on this notice must be received by January 21, 1998.

ADDRESSES: Written comments should be submitted to the OMB Desk Officer 
at the following address: Allison Eydt, Human Resources and Housing 
Branch, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, OMB; New 
Executive Office Building, Room 10235; Washington, 20503.
    All comments will become a matter of public record.

Ruth A. Celtnieks, AHCPR Reports Clearance Officer, (301) 594-1406, 
ext. 1497.


Proposed Project

    ``Medical Expenditure Panel Survey--Insurance Component (MEPS-IC) 
for 1998 and 1999.''
    The AHCPR plans to continue collection of the MEPS-IC. This survey 
collects information from employers (including public and private 
sectors) and other health insurance providers. The survey was first 
conducted in 1997.
    The MEPS-IC is the integration of two previous surveys which 
collected similar information from two different samples. The two 
surveys were:
    1. The 1994 National Employer Health Insurance Survey (NEHIS) 
sponsored by AHCPR, the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) 
and the Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA). The NEHIS had a 
sample drawn from (1) a list of private sector establishments, the Dunn 
Market Identifiers, provided by Dunn and Bradstreet, a major supplier 
of business information, (2) a list of all government entities, 
Federal, State and local, provided by the Census Bureau, and (3) a list 
of self-employed individuals provided by the NCHS; and
    2. The 1987 Health Insurance Plans Survey (HIPS) sponsored by 
AHCPR's predecessor, the National Center for Health Statistics 
Research. The HIPS sample was a sample of employers and other health 
insurance providers generated from the 1987 National Medical 
Expenditure Survey, a household survey similar to the MEPS-HC.
    As a result, the sample for the MEPS-IC is made up of two 
    1. A list sample of employers selected from three sample frames, 
private sector, government entities and self-employed individuals, 
available from the Bureau of the Census; and
    2. a sample of employers and other health insurance providers 
identified by respondents to the MEPS-Household Component (MEPS-HC). 
The MEPS-HC is an annual household survey designed to collect medical 
expenditures and ancillary information for individuals.
    Data will be produced in two forms: (1) Files containing employer 
information from the list sample of selected employers; and (2) files 
containing calendar years 1997 and 1998 insurance data collected in 
1998 and 1999 from employers and linked to information from the 
household respondents of the 1997 and 1998 MEPS-HC surveys.
    The data are intended to be used for purposes such as:
     Generatng national and State estimates of employer health 
care offerings;
     Producing aggregate data on national and State estimates 
of spending on employer-sponsored health insurance for analyzing 
results of national and State health care policy and providing 
information to guide future policy;
     Supplying data to model the demand for health insurance; 
     Providing a valuable source of information concerning 
household responses regarding choices of health plans and costs and 
benefits of these plans, when pooled with data from the MEPS-HC.
    These data provide the basis for researchers to address significant 
questions for employers and policymakers alike.

Method of Collection

    The data will be collected using a combination of modes. AHCPR 
intends to first contact the employers by telephone. This contact will 
provide information on the availability of health insurance from the 
employer and essential persons to contact. Based upon this information, 
AHCPR will send a mail questionnaire to employers and others identified 
by employers. In order to assure high response rates, AHCPR will 
follow-up with a second mailing at an acceptable time interval, 
followed by a telephone call to collect data from those who have not 
responded by mail.
    Data collected from each employer will include a description of the 
business (e.g., size, industry) and descriptions of health insurance 
plans available, plan enrollments, total plan costs and costs to 
    For employers that can be matched to the MEPS-HC respondents, data 
will also be collected indicating the actual plan selected by the MEPS-
HC respondent and the plan costs.
    As part of the process, for larger employers with high burdens, 
such as State employers and large firms, AHCPR will, if needed, perform 
personal visits and do customized collection, such as, acceptance of 
data in computerized formats. Annual burden estimates follow:
    Initial Number of Respondents: 40,000.
    Number of Surveys Per Respondent: 1.
    Average Burden Per Respondent: .5 hour.
    Estimated Annual Total Burden: 20,000 hours.

Request for Comments

    Comments are invited on: (a) The necessity of the proposed 
collection; (b) the accuracy of the Agency's estimate of burden of the 
proposed collection 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/or included in the request for 
OMB approval of this information collection.
    Copies of these proposed collection plans and instruments can be 
obtained from the AHCPR Reports Clearance Officer (see above).

[[Page 66871]]

    Dated: December 15, 1997.
John M. Eisenberg,
[FR Doc. 97-33253 Filed 12-19-97; 8:45 am]