Performance Improvement 2006. Under-Reporting of Medicaid and Welfare in the Current Population Survey


The purpose of this study is to determine the accuracy of data on the Current Population Survey (CPS) concerning the receipt of welfare benefits and Medicaid. It also attempts to estimate the uninsured rate for adults. The method determines the accuracy of CPS data by comparing them to administrative data from California’s Medi-Cal system. (The Medicaid program in California is referred to as Medi-Cal.) Some major findings include: (1) Medi-Cal reporting rates on the CPS were generally in the 70 to 75 percent range for children and adults throughout the 1990s. The welfare-reporting rate held steady near the 50 percent range for children and adults until 1996, but then decreased by 2000 to 37 percent for adults and 30 percent for children. (2) It is estimated that the un-insurance rate for adults (i.e., those that are not covered by Medi-Cal or any other health insurance) is 20.8 percent, while for children the un-insurance rate is 11.9 percent. One should bear in mind in interpreting these results that: these results use only data from California; and, in estimating un-insurance rates the study assumes that CPS responses to the questions concerning coverage by Other Health Insurance (i.e., other than Medi-Cal) are correct. In light of the fact that they found large discrepancies in responses to questions concerning receipt of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and Medicaid, this assumption is open to question. nder_title.html

PIC ID: 8222; Agency Sponsor: ACF-OPRE, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation; Federal Contact: Sternbach, Leonard, 415-437-7671; Performer: Rand Corporation, Santa Monica, CA

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