Response Error in Reporting Dental Coverage by Older Americans in the Health and Retirement Study

Published in: INQUIRY: The Journal of Health Care Organization, Provision, and Financing, v. 51, Jan.-Dec. 2014, p. 1-10

Posted on RAND.org on December 31, 2014

by John F. Moeller, Richard J. Manski, Nancy A. Mathiowetz, Nancy F. Campbell, John V. Pepper

Read More

Access further information on this document at INQUIRY: The Journal of Health Care Organization

This article was published outside of RAND. The full text of the article can be found at the link above.

The aim of this research was to analyze the inconsistency in responses to survey questions within the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) regarding insurance coverage of dental services. Self-reports of dental coverage in the dental services section were compared with those in the insurance section of the 2002 HRS to identify inconsistent responses. Logistic regression identified characteristics of persons reporting discrepancies and assessed the effect of measurement error on dental coverage coefficient estimates in dental utilization models. In 18% of cases, data reported in the insurance section contradicted data reported in the dental use section of the HRS by those who said insurance at least partially covered (or would have covered) their (hypothetical) dental use. Additional findings included distinct characteristics of persons with potential reporting errors and a downward bias to the regression coefficient for coverage in a dental use model without controls for inconsistent self-reports of coverage. This study offers evidence for the need to validate self-reports of dental insurance coverage among a survey population of older Americans to obtain more accurate estimates of coverage and its impact on dental utilization.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation External publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.

Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit www.rand.org/about/principles.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.