Data on Health and Well-being of American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Other Native Americans. Medicare Denominator File

12/01/2006

Sponsor: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS)/Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)
Description: The Medicare Denominator File contains demographic and enrollment information about each beneficiary enrolled in Medicare during a calendar year. The information in the Denominator File is finalized in March of the following calendar year. Some of the information contained in the file includes the beneficiary unique identifier, state and county codes, zipcode, date of birth, date of death, sex, race, age, monthly entitlement indicators (Part A/B/Both), reasons for entitlement, state buy-in indicators, and monthly managed care indicators (yes/no). The Denominator File is used to determine beneficiary demographic characteristics, entitlement, and beneficiary participation in Medicare Managed Care Organizations.
Relevant Policy Issues: Factors Contributing to Measured Health Disparities and Measures of Well-being for Elders.
Data Type(s): Program enrollment, eligibility, and demographic data
Unit of Analysis: Individual
Identification of AI/AN/NA: Race is provided by the Social Security Administration and is found within the Denominator file. CMS receives a quarterly update file from Indian Health Services on individuals deemed by IHS to be Native American and uses it to update the race code found in the Denominator file. The information from the IHS will override any other code which may have been on file.

Race/ethnic categories included in the data are:

  • Unknown
  • White
  • Black
  • Other
  • Asian/Pacific Islander
  • Hispanic
  • North American Native
AI/AN/NA Population in Data Set: Population size is not available in documentation, however, this file is a census of the Medicare population and should have more than sufficient sample size for research purposes. The Native American population from the administrative records in 2002, for example, was over 141,000.
Geographic Scope: The geographic scope of the file is national. State, county, and zip code are available in the file.
Date or Frequency: Data are collected on an ongoing basis with the files constructed on an annual basis.
Data Collection Methodology: The Medicare Denominator Files are populated using the Medicare enrollment database, an administrative data source completed when individuals become eligible for and enroll in the Medicare program. An update in March of each year is included for the previous years data file (e.g., March 1995 update is used to finalize the 1994 denominator file).
Participation: Mandatory
Strengths: The Medicare Denominator File can be combined with other data sources (e.g., Standard Analytic File/Claims data) using the beneficiarys unique identifier, and therefore can be a very powerful analytic data source. On their own, these files offer a census of Medicare enrollment, type of coverage and basic demographics. They contain a large number of AI/AN/NA respondents and there are multiple years of data available.
Limitations: The Pacific Islander population is not separated from the Asian racial/ethnic category. The AI/AN/NA populations are also not divided into more refined categories. Given the size of the Medicare population, cell size concerns should not be an issue, yet only these broader race/ethnic categories are available. This is due in large part to how the data are collected.
Other: In addition to the data sets profiled in this catalog, a full listing of all available CMS data sets is presented at this website: http://www.cms.hhs.gov/FilesForOrderGenInfo/
Access Requirements and Use Restrictions: The data request process involves multiple components including a proposal of how the data will be used, evidence of funding for the research, data use agreement, Institutional Review Board clearance/waiver, and some administrative forms.

There is a cost associated with use of this data set. Researchers will need to contact ResDAC in order to receive pricing information. The steps and forms are described in detail at the following website: http://www.resdac.umn.edu/medicare/requesting_data.asp.

Contact Information: The University of Minnesota, CMS contractor for managing and supporting CMS data, can be contacted via the Internet at: https://resdac.oit.umn.edu/
Via e-mail: resdac@umn.edu
Via telephone: (888) 973-7322

Denominator File Record Layout: http://www.resdac.umn.edu/ddde/dd_de.asp

 

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