Cost data may potentially be obtained from budgeting or accounting records for the NMEP, currently available for FY98 FY07. Although these off-the-shelf numbers are convenient, they do not necessarily contain the level of precision needed for a CEA study. Accounting costs often measure purchased services and materials costs well but may contain insufficient data on labor and on shared materials.
If accounting costs are unsuitable, a simple alternative is to approximate costs with related data. For instance, if CMS records indicate that 100 full-time workers were assigned to the 1-800-MEDICARE helpline and each was paid $40,000 per year, including the value of benefits, then the total labor cost for this activity would be $4,000,000. Per-capita labor costs may be directly available from personnel records from CMS, contract budgets, or may be borrowed from external data sources such as the Bureau of Labor Statistics (for an average worker in a particular occupation and/or industry).
For effectiveness data, the beneficiary knowledge index discussed above generated using MCBS data is suggested. For process measures, all available data and detail that CMS has on utilization of NMEP activities may be useful. This would include number of beneficiaries served, number of Web site visitors, number of Medicare & You handbooks mailed, and so on. These data may serve as inputs into a cost-consequence study, or they may also be used to scale the effectiveness data.