Data for the prospective cohort study will be collected at regular intervals and will include both quantitative and qualitative approaches. Two instruments could be used for primary data collection a more quantitative self-administered, mail-returned survey and a one-on-one telephone discussion guide to collect more qualitative information. The survey will be the most frequently used instrument and will be administered at predetermined intervals.
Telephone discussions of a small subsample will occur less frequently and could be based on key events (i.e., disenrollment), providing more in-depth information to help interpret beneficiaries’ survey responses. This qualitative data will help elaborate on quantitative responses and will help determine whether beneficiaries participated in IDM. In addition to regular interviews, the study team will also interview beneficiaries when certain event triggers occur (e.g., beneficiary indicates on survey that he/she has changed Medicare plans).
We suggest a proposed data collection schedule that involves administering surveys every 6 or 12 months (depending on resources) and a few dozen telephone discussions each year. Because the study seeks to understand beneficiaries’ future intentions, we propose that individuals who disenroll from a certain plan continue to be surveyed as well. This data collection timeline will allow for adequate measurement of all key variables but should limit the burden on participants and minimize data collection costs, especially for telephone interviewing.