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

Analyzing state data needs for monitoring the uninsured

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.