The Impact of Wireless-Only Households on State Surveys of Health Insurance Coverage

Survey estimates of the distribution of health insurance coverage are critical for informing health policy. Many state and national household surveys that provide estimates of health insurance coverage rely on telephone data collection.

However, telephone surveys have become more expensive and difficult to conduct, due in part to the increasing use of cell phones. The increasing prevalence of cell phone coverage in the U.S., and the consequent increase in the number of people who use their cell phone in place of a landline, makes it difficult to reach target populations and may eventually threaten the quality of the data collected.

This issue brief documents the survey research issues posed by the increase in wireless-only coverage in the U.S. and highlights the challenges posed by this environment and potential solutions.