FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS


Click below for responses to frequently asked questions. If you would like more information, please:

ABOUT THE SURVEY

What is the Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey?

The Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey (MCBS) is an ongoing survey designed to learn more about the people who use Medicare and to improve the Medicare program. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, oversees the Medicare program and sponsors this survey. MCBS data provide legislators, policy makers, and Congress with more information about how Medicare is used and how it affects beneficiaries like you.

Why is it important to participate?

  • Your response helps improve the quality of care you and others covered by Medicare receive.
  • Help the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services understand how Medicare affects your daily life and what problems you might be experiencing with your coverage.
  • Help create effective laws and regulations for people covered by Medicare. Legislators and policy makers use the MCBS to make policy decisions and to:
  • Determine whether the Medicare program is meeting the needs of current beneficiaries.
  • Create summary reports to describe key factors about how people use their Medicare coverage.
  • Have fun! Our participants enjoy participating in the MCBS and getting to know their interviewer. Similarly, our interviewers, NORC, and CMS collectively value each participant’s time and involvement in this important research effort.

Why have I been selected to participate?

As part of a randomly selected sample of beneficiaries, you represent thousands of other Medicare beneficiaries. Your participation is important to accurately represent the experiences of all types of beneficiaries in the United States, regardless of health status. You cannot be replaced.

How do I know my answers will be kept private?

Your answers are protected under the Federal Privacy Act of 1974. The information you report is combined with information provided by many others and only used to describe Medicare beneficiaries as a group. No information that could identify you individually is publicly released.

PARTICIPATING IN THE SURVEY

How will I recognize the Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey interviewer?

If you have any questions about the credibility of an interviewer or your survey participation, you can visit http://www.norc.org/verifyme, call 1-866-856-NORC, or email surveyhelp@norc.org. You may ask for an interviewer's employee ID number on their badge and verify they work at NORC using any of the resources above.

The interviewer is a representative from NORC at the University of Chicago who wears an official NORC ID badge with their picture, name, title, ID number and signature. On the back is a distinctive hologram and phone number to call to confirm the interviewer’s identity.

How can I make an appointment or get more information?

If you receive a letter in the mail or if an interviewer contacts you, you may schedule an appointment using the information provided. You can even schedule the appointment for in the evening or on a weekend. If you would like to contact us to schedule an appointment, please call us toll free at 1-844-777-2151.You may also visit our Contact Us page to request a representative contact you to schedule your appointment or answer questions you may have.

How long does it take?

Your first interview will last about an hour. We will also interview you again after approximately four months. Subsequent interviews can take around 90 minutes, depending on your health status as well as your use of health care services.

What types of questions will I be asked?

We will ask you questions about your recent experiences with Medicare, such as:

  • Where do you usually go for health care?
  • How do you usually schedule your health care appointments?
  • How satisfied or dissatisfied are you with the out-of-pocket costs you paid for health care?

Am I required to participate?

No, your participation is voluntary. However, your answers are very important to us and may have a significant impact on policymakers’ understanding of the needs of Medicare beneficiaries.

Will helping with this survey affect my Medicare benefits in any way?

No, your benefits will not be affected in any way by your answers. Also, your benefits will not be affected by your decision to participate in this survey or not.

I have never been sick/I don’t think anything about my health or life would be useful to your survey. Why should I help?

Your information is as important to us as the information of each of the other 16,000 Medicare beneficiaries participating in this survey. Your information is just as helpful and important as the information of someone with vastly different experiences, because together you represent the span of experiences with Medicare. Your participation will provide important information helping us to understand how people can lead fuller, healthier lives as they age.

I had a bad experience with Medicare/the government recently. Why should I help?

We are sorry that you had a disappointing experience. However, this is a special research effort and we hope to make your relationship with us a pleasant one. By participating in this survey, you can help provide legislators and policy makers with crucial information on how to improve the Medicare program.

What will be done with the information from the Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey?

The data collected will be summarized in reports. These reports will describe the use and cost of health care for Medicare beneficiaries as group, including where they go for care, how they feel about their care, and payment for health care. No individually identifying information is publicly released.

How do I participate in the Facility Interview?

If you work at a facility that has been contacted to participate in the MCBS and you would like to learn more, please email us at mcbs@norc.org or call our toll-free line at 1-844-777-2151 to speak with MCBS staff.

OTHER FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What is NORC at the University of Chicago?

NORC at the University of Chicago serves the public interest and improves lives through objective social science research that supports informed decision making. Founded in 1941, NORC has helped establish and continues to strengthen the rapidly evolving field of social science research. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have chosen NORC to help conduct this survey. To find more information view NORC's website here.

Where can I learn more about MCBS Data?

To learn more about the data, you may visit the MCBS page on the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid website: https://www.cms.gov/Research-Statistics-Data-and-Systems/Research/MCBS/index?redirect=/mcbs