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This Note provides guidance for understanding and using 67 files of research data released to the public by the Health Insurance Experiment (HIE), a large-scale, controlled trial of cost sharing in health insurance. The HIE assessed how variations in patients' share of health care costs affected their use of health services, their satisfaction with care, the quality of their care, and the state of their health. The 67 public-use files contain a large subset of all data collected by the HIE. The file data pertain to characteristics of the sample, health care services and expenditures during the experimental period, medical/dental health status, and attitudes toward health care. This guide summarizes the experiment; describes each file and associated documentation; discusses analytic possibilities and limitations of the data; and offers suggestions for choosing analytic subsamples and linking data across files, years, sample groups, and sites for particular analytic purposes.

This report is part of the RAND note series. The note was a product of RAND from 1979 to 1993 that reported other outputs of sponsored research for general distribution.

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