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Renuka Bhaskar, Rachel M. Shattuck, and James Noon


Response error in surveys affects the quality of data which are relied on for numerous research and policy purposes. We use linked survey and administrative records data to examine reporting of a particular item in the American Community Survey (ACS) – health coverage among American Indians and Alaska Natives (AIANs) through the Indian Health Service (IHS). We compare responses to the IHS portion of the 2014 ACS health insurance question to whether or not individuals are in the 2014 IHS Patient Registration data. We evaluate the extent to which individuals misreport their IHS coverage in the ACS as well as the characteristics associated with misreporting. We also assess whether the ACS estimates of AIANs with IHS coverage represent an undercount. Our results will be of interest to researchers who rely on survey responses in general and specifically the ACS health insurance question. Moreover, our analysis contributes to the literature on using administrative records to measure components of survey error.

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