An Introduction to Redesigned Health Insurance Coverage Questions in the 2014 Current Population Survey's Annual Social and Economic Supplement

The Current Population Survey (CPS), conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau for the Bureau of Labor Statistics, is designed to provide monthly data on labor force participation and unemployment. For decades, the Census Bureau and external researchers have recognized several flaws in the CPS health insurance questions which cause it to over-estimate the number of uninsured.

The new and modified health insurance coverage questions are designed to reduce recall error, reduce respondent fatigue, improve comprehension, and provide additional information about employer offers, reasons why eligible workers do not take-up employer sponsored coverage, purchase of coverage on health insurance exchanges, and the receipt of subsidies.

This brief discusses the new and modified health insurance coverage questions to the 2014 CPS.

Redesign aims to:

  • Improve the measure of past year coverage

  • Add a point in time measure

  • Collect additional information related to health reform (exchange participation and employer-offers of coverage)

  • Provide coverage by month