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Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey (MCBS)

Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey (MCBS)  banner. Click to request MCBS data from the Research Data Assistance Center (ResDAC).
If you have been contacted to participate in the Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey (MCBS) and would like to verify your selection in this study, please contact NORC toll free at 1-877-389-3429. You can also visit our respondent website at

The Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey (MCBS) is a continuous, multipurpose survey of a nationally representative sample of the Medicare population, conducted by the Office of Enterprise Data and Analytics (OEDA) of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) through a contract with NORC at the University of Chicago. The central goals of the MCBS is to determine expenditures and sources of payment for all services used by Medicare beneficiaries, including co-payments, deductibles, and non-covered services; to ascertain all types of health insurance coverage and relate coverage to sources of payment; and to trace outcomes over time, such as changes in health status and spending down to Medicaid eligibility and the impacts of Medicare program changes on satisfaction with care and usual source of care.

The Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey (MCBS) celebrates over 25 years of continuous data collection! The MCBS team is happy to announce that data for the 2015 MCBS will be available in the 3rd quarter of 2017, more than 1 year earlier than the previous file release schedule.  The 2015 MCBS files will also have improved user documentation, user friendly file structures, and an updated Chart Book.  However, to accommodate changes in sampling and data collection methodologies which allow for this more timely release of data starting with the 2015 MCBS, 2014 MCBS data are not being released.  For more information, please read our recent CMS Blog post:  (

Beginning with data collected in the 2013 Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey (MCBS), a public use file (PUF) and accompanying documentation is available free for download on the MCBS PUF page.  The MCBS PUF is an easy to use data file with select data items that allow researchers to conduct analysis on health disparities, access to and satisfaction with healthcare, and medical conditions for community dwelling Medicare beneficiaries.

Additionally, there are two detailed data releases from the Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey (MCBS) that are released in annual Access to Care and Cost and Use files, which can be purchased directly from CMS and require a data use agreement.  All research requests for MCBS data for the two limited access data releases must be requested through the Limited Data Set File Process.  You will find instructions here:  Limited Data Set (LDS) Files.

MCBS PUF - 2013 Now Available

The MCBS 2013 Access to Care public use file (MCBS PUF) provides the first publically available MCBS file for researchers interested in the health, health care use, access to and satisfaction with care for Medicare beneficiaries, while providing the very highest degree of protection to the Medicare beneficiaries’ protected health information. The MCBS PUF is prepared from data collected in 2013 from over 13,000 community dwelling Medicare beneficiaries and contains standard demographic variables, such as age categories, race/ethnicity and gender, as well as information about health conditions, access to and satisfaction with care, type of insurance coverage, and information on utilization, such as the number of fee-for-service claims per beneficiary for certain health care event types.

The MCBS 2013 ATC PUF is available free for download, along with its accompanying documentation here on the  MCBS PUF page. If you have questions regarding use of the MCBS data please email us at

MCBS Cost and Use - 2013 Now Available for order

The MCBS Cost and Use files link Medicare claims to survey-reported events and provides complete expenditure and source of payment data on all health care services, including those not covered by Medicare. Expenditure data were developed through a reconciliation process that combines information from survey respondents and Medicare administrative files. The process produces a comprehensive picture of health services received, amounts paid, and sources of payment. The file can support a broader range of research and policy analyses on the Medicare population than would be possible using either survey data or administrative claims data alone. Survey-reported data include information on the use and cost of all types of medical services, as well as information on supplementary health insurance, living arrangements, income, health status, and physical functioning. Medicare claims data includes use and cost information on inpatient hospitalizations, outpatient hospital care, physician services, home health care, durable medical equipment, skilled nursing home services, hospice care, and other medical services. MCBS produces two files annually, Access to Care and Cost and Use. The Cost and Use file is released within 2 years of the survey.


To sign up for updates or to access your subscriber preferences, please click the button below: 

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For more information, please click on the Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey (MCBS) link in the Related Links Inside CMS area.