In Collecting Data on the Uninsured, States Find that One Size Doesn't Fit All

During 1999 and 2000, researchers at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health conducted a study to determine what data was available to states for tracking the status of people without health insurance.

Key Findings

The investigators found the following:

  • State-specific data drive state health policy, but states with few resources must rely on national data that do not meet their needs.
  • States find privately sponsored surveys useful, but not all states are included in these surveys.
  • States would like reliable, timely data that allow them to perform state-level analyses.
  • States vary in their need for technical assistance.
  • The researchers concluded that high-quality state data should:
    • Be based on a good survey design.
    • Provide state identifiers for all 50 states.
    • Have a sample size large enough for valid and reliable state estimates.
    • Provide timely and routine release of data.
    • Provide easy access to micro-data or public use tapes for additional analysis.