National Archive of Computerized Data on Aging

Medicare Health Outcomes Survey (HOS), 1998-2007 (ICPSR 23380) RSS

Principal Investigator(s):


The Medicare Health Outcomes Survey (HOS) is the first patient reported outcomes measure used in Medicare managed care. It is a continuous study that measures the physical and mental health of Medicare beneficiaries over a two-year period. Starting in 1998, a baseline survey was administered to a new cohort of respondents each year in the spring and a follow-up survey was conducted of those same respondents two years later. Cohorts 1-5 include the Baseline Data, the Follow-Up Data, and the Analytic Data file, which contains the merged Baseline and Follow-Up files along with supplemental variables. Beginning with Cohort 6, the Follow-Up Data were included only in the Analytic file. The HOS consists of the SF-36 Health Survey, which yields physical and mental health summary measures, as well as questions on topics such as chronic medical conditions, activities of daily living (ADLs), depression, smoking, physical health symptoms, weight and height, and additional questions corresponding to HEDIS (Health Care Employer Data and Information Set) measures such as Urinary Incontinence in Older Adults, Osteoporosis Testing in Older Women, and Fall Risk Management. The survey also includes case mix adjustment variables which may be used to adjust the survey response data for beneficiary characteristics that are known to be related to systematic biases in the way people respond to survey questions. Demographic information includes respondent's age, sex, race, education level, marital status, and geographic region.

Access Notes

  • These data are freely available.

  • This study is provided by ICPSR. ICPSR provides leadership and training in data access, curation, and methods of analysis for a diverse and expanding social science research community.


WARNING: Because this study has many datasets, the download all files option has been suppressed, and you will need to download one dataset at a time.

WARNING: This study is over 150MB in size and may take several minutes to download on a typical internet connection.

DS1:  Cohort 1 (1998-2000): Baseline Data - Download All Files (195,344 KB)
DS2:  Cohort 1 (1998-2000): Follow-up Data - Download All Files (88,448 KB)
DS3:  Cohort 1 (1998-2000): Analytic Data - Download All Files (276,328 KB)
DS4:  Cohort 2 (1999-2001): Baseline Data - Download All Files (233,600 KB)
DS5:  Cohort 2 (1999-2001): Follow-up Data - Download All Files (85,208 KB)
DS6:  Cohort 2 (1999-2001): Analytic Data - Download All Files (283,480 KB)
DS7:  Cohort 3 (2000-2002): Baseline Data - Download All Files (244,000 KB)
DS8:  Cohort 3 (2000-2002): Follow-up Data - Download All Files (79,152 KB)
DS9:  Cohort 3 (2000-2002): Analytic Data - Download All Files (288,232 KB)
DS10:  Cohort 4 (2001-2003): Baseline Data - Download All Files (147,024 KB)
DS11:  Cohort 4 (2001-2003): Follow-up Data - Download All Files (67,616 KB)
DS12:  Cohort 4 (2001-2003): Analytic Data - Download All Files (223,168 KB)
DS13:  Cohort 5 (2002-2004): Baseline Data - Download All Files (128,424 KB)
DS14:  Cohort 5 (2002-2004): Follow-up Data - Download All Files (70,136 KB)
DS15:  Cohort 5 (2002-2004): Analytic Data - Download All Files (216,232 KB)
DS16:  Cohort 6 (2003-2005): Baseline Data - Download All Files (123,528 KB)
DS17:  Cohort 6 (2003-2005): Analytic Data - Download All Files (217,872 KB)
DS18:  Cohort 7 (2004-2006): Baseline Data - Download All Files (121,456 KB)
DS19:  Cohort 7 (2004-2006): Analytic Data - Download All Files (193,240 KB)
DS20:  Cohort 8 (2005-2007): Baseline Data - Download All Files (126,464 KB)
DS21:  Cohort 8 (2005-2007): Analytic Data - Download All Files (200,080 KB)
DS22:  Cohort 9 (2006-2008): Baseline Data - Download All Files (119,312 KB)
DS23:  Cohort 10 (2007-2009): Baseline Data - Download All Files (190,480 KB)

Study Description


United States Department of Health and Human Services. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Medicare Health Outcomes Survey (HOS), 1998-2007. ICPSR23380-v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2009-07-22. doi:10.3886/ICPSR23380.v1

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Scope of Study

Subject Terms:   chronic disabilities, chronic illnesses, depression (psychology), disabilities, disabled persons, health, health care services, health problems, health status, medical care, Medicare, mental health, older adults, smoking, treatment outcome

Geographic Coverage:   Guam, Puerto Rico, United States, Virgin Islands of the United States

Time Period:  

  • 1998--2007

Unit of Observation:   individual

Universe:   Medicare recipients in Medicare contract market areas in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the United States territories of Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Virgin Islands.

Data Types:   administrative records data, survey data

Data Collection Notes:

Cohorts 1-5 contain the Baseline Data, the Follow-Up Data, and the Analytic Data file, which contains the merged Baseline and Follow-Up files along with supplemental variables. Beginning with Cohort 6, the Follow-Up Data were no longer produced separately and were included only in the Analytic Data file.

Cohort 9 (2006-2008) and Cohort 10 (2007-2009) only contain Baseline data at this time.

According to the principal investigators, the value "MM" in the survey mode variable, formerly known as survey round number, was not used consistently by the HOS survey vendors since telephone follow-up of incomplete mail surveys is often utilized, with a subsequent "MT" survey mode assignment.

For the variables corresponding to the Healthy Days questions, NCQA allowed the vendors to enter invalid values into the database when respondents indicated a response of more than 30 days. However, values greater than 30 were excluded from all analyses involving the three healthy days questions in the reports.

The HOS questionnaire contains multiple skip patterns. Caution should be exercised when examining selected questions that involve skip pattern responses. Please refer to the User Guide for additional information on skip patterns.

For comprehensive information on the history and progress of the Medicare HOS Program, including the full spectrum of available data and reports, please visit the Medicare Health Outcomes Survey Web site.

Demographic variables in the baseline survey (age, race, marital status, education level) were collapsed by the principal investigators to ensure the confidentiality of the respondents. Information on how to gain access to HOS nonidentifiable data, identifiable data, and limited data set files is available via the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Web site.


Sample:   The Baseline cohort was created from a random sample of Medicare beneficiaries from each applicable Medicare contract market area. From this sample, a Follow-Up cohort was identified of those who were eligible for remeasurement two years later. The sampling methodology was dependent upon the size of a plan's population and changed slightly each year. For information on the sample inclusion criteria, please refer to the User Guide for the specific cohort.

Mode of Data Collection:   computer-assisted telephone interview (CATI), mail questionnaire

Data Source:

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Medicare Enrollment Database

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Monthly Report of Managed Care Health Plans

Extent of Processing:  ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection:

  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.


Original ICPSR Release:  

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