Using National Survey Data to Analyze Children’s Health Insurance Coverage: An Assessment of Issues. E. ANALYSIS OF LONGITUDINAL DATA


Given the difficulties that respondents seem to experience in providing accurate reports of their insurance coverage more than a few months ago, panel surveys with more than one interview per year seem to be essential to obtaining good estimates of the duration of uninsurance and the frequency with which children experience spells of uninsurance over a period of time. Longitudinal data are even more essential if we are to understand children’s patterns of movement into and out of uninsurance and into and out of Medicaid enrollment. At the same time, however, longitudinal data present many challenges for analysts. These include the complexity of measuring the characteristics of a population over time, the effects of sample loss and population dynamics on the representativeness of panel samples, and the issues that must be addressed in measuring spell duration.