1. Can I report online? What is Centurion?
Yes, all employers may choose to report online. In your questionnaire package, an Internet link and secure survey key have been provided for access to Centurion. Centurion is an interactive application that will enable survey respondents to complete a survey questionnaire via a secure-web site in lieu of a paper survey form for the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS). The application requires the respondent to establish a username and password. The use of a valid email address is required to validate the username and password. The applications has skip patterns programmed, resulting in questions on the paper form to not appear. Refer to the online help and instructions for assistance in using the application.
2. What is the purpose of this study?
The study's purpose is to measure State and National levels of health insurance spending; as well as, to provide data for analyzing the effects of current and proposed healthcare reforms. We are attempting to collect information on the availability of insurance for workers and the cost of insurance to both the employee and the organization providing the insurance.
3. How long will this study take?
We expect that it will take 45 minutes, on average, per establishment, to complete the basic questionnaire. Establishments with more than one health plan will take an additional 10 minutes per plan, on average, up to the maximum of four plans to be reported.
4. What questions does this study ask?
This study asks questions about the availability of health insurance for your employees and the costs and services of any health insurance plans provided by your establishment. There are questions about premiums, deductibles, and the type of provider arrangements available through the plans. There are also questions about general business characteristics, such as fringe benefits, optional coverage services, and the number of employees.
5. What will happen to the data collected in this study?
All of the responses are confidential. All the data collected will be combined into one large database. Healthcare researchers and statisticians will prepare tables and reports for publication, and will do special analysis at the request of healthcare policy makers. By law, no information that identifies your establishment or government can be published or released to anyone outside of the study.
6. Doesn't the government already have this information?
Several studies on health benefits offered by employers have been conducted by the insurance industry, private firms, foundations, and governmental agencies. The Health Insurance Cost Study is by far the most comprehensive of these studies. It will provide detailed information about the types of health insurance offered, the number of persons covered, and the costs of health coverage at the State and National level.
7. How was our establishment chosen?
This is a National Study. Your establishment was statistically selected from a register of employers that the U.S. Census Bureau maintains. Since this is a sample survey, your establishment represents many other similar establishments. We are asking establishments of all sizes and business activities to participate in this very important study.
8. We have no health insurance. Why should we participate in this study?
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is also interested in characteristics of companies that do not provide health coverage. Further research may result in changes to the structure of insurance availability so that more businesses will be able to provide insurance to their workers.
9. What should I do since I'm a small business owner with no employees?
As an owner of a small business, you are an employee of the business. Employees are anyone, including yourself, for whom payroll taxes, such as Social Security were withheld or paid. For the purposes of this study, a business owner is considered an employee.
10. Why don't you sample another business?
In statistical studies like this one, we must receive feedback from a representative sample of establishments selected to participate. Each establishment represents many similar organizations. For statistical reasons, we cannot replace businesses or governments that decline to participate in the study. The information your organization provides is extremely important.
11. Do I have to participate?
Participation in this important study is voluntary and there are no penalties for not answering questions. However, it is essential that we have your cooperation to ensure the accuracy and comprehensiveness of our data. This study will measure State and National levels of health insurance spending and will provide information for lawmakers to assess the effects of current and proposed health care reforms.
12. How will responding to this survey help my business? What about small businesses?
This study gives respondents an opportunity to inform policy makers about your particular health insurance situation and to provide objective data. Accurate information about the costs and characteristics of health plans is essential for making sensible decisions.
13. Will my answers be kept confidential?
The Census Bureau is required by Title 13 of the United States Code to maintain the confidentiality of the data. Identifying information about your company will be seen only by individuals sworn to uphold Census Bureau confidentiality. Title 13 of the United States Code authorizes a penalty for those persons who violate the Privacy Act.
14. Is this study authorized by law? Who has access to the data from this study?
Collection of this survey data is authorized under Title 13, Section 8(b), of the United States Code and Section 913 of the Public Health Service Act. Your report to the Census Bureau is confidential under Title 13, Section 9 of the United States Code. It may be seen only by sworn Census employees and may be used only for statistical purposes.
15. Who is the study sponsor? Where can I get information about AHRQ? Where can I get a copy of the results from this survey?
The sponsor of this study is the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, an agency of the Department of Health and Human Services. For additional information about the study, written requests may be sent to the following address:
16. What does the OMB approval number (0935-0110) mean?
The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approval number authorizes the collection of data. OMB reviews all studies the Federal government conducts to control duplication of data collection among Federal agencies.
17. Is this an annual study?
Yes, this is an annual study. We select a new sample of establishments every year. Therefore, it is very unlikely that your establishment will be contacted again next year.
18. Can I Upload Enrollment, Premium, and Plan Data or Brochures?
Yes, data can be uploaded to supplement answers submitted electronically or in lieu of completing the questionnaire electronically. From the Main Menu, select Tools, Upload File(s) and follow the on-screen instructions for each file that needs to be uploaded. The system is designed to accept different file types, i.e. Word, Excel, PDF, etc.
19. Can I use a pencil?
A pencil is not acceptable for completing the questionnaire. Please use a blue or black inked pen and write clearly and neatly in the spaces provided.