Updating the American Community Survey with marketplace coverage questions

Reader Genevieve Kenney (@kenneygm) wrote me the following, which deserves attention from researchers:

Comments are due December 30 2014 in response to a Federal Register Notice on the American Community Survey (ACS) which could determine whether the ACS health insurance sequence is improved in subsequent years to include marketplace coverage.

The notice addresses the potential removal of seven questions (1 housing, 1 education, 5 on prior marital history) based on the results of the 2014 Content Review. The removal of one or more questions could create an opportunity to add questions about the Health Insurance Marketplace which are not yet included on the ACS. No mention is made in the notice of adding questions; however, adding new items to the ACS is dependent upon the removal of others, so the current comment period presents an opportunity to voice support for adding health insurance questions related to the Health Insurance Marketplace.  The ACS is the nation’s preeminent source of health insurance coverage estimates for state and local areas. Adding questions on the Marketplace would substantially expand the value of the ACS for tracking health insurance issues.

A 2013 effort to add Marketplace questions to the ACS health insurance series failed in part because so few health services researchers submitted comments indicating how important it is that the ACS health insurance questions reflect the new options that are available to consumers. We urge you to take the opportunity to comment in writing by December 30, 2014, explaining the value of retaining the point-in-time measure of insurance coverage in the ACS, as well as adding Health Insurance Marketplace questions to the ACS.  Proposed wording from SHADAC is provided here, but adding information on the value of the health insurance estimates from the ACS in your own work will strengthen comments that are submitted.

Comments, due December 30, 2014 can be submitted by email to jjessup@doc.gov or to: 

Jennifer Jessup
Departmental Paperwork Clearance Officer
Department of Commerce, Room 6616
14th and Constitution Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20230


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