The Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey is the leading source of information on the Medicare program. The purpose of this survey is to better understand the experiences of people who are covered by Medicare to help improve the Medicare program. This survey has been continuously conducted since 1991, and more than 1.2 million interviews have been conducted since the beginning.

MCBS hero images of family and elderly couples
What is the MCBS?


MCBS stands for the Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey (MCBS). It collects information about health care, prescription drugs, and other health-related costs.

The MCBS is an ongoing survey designed to learn more about the people who are covered by Medicare. It helps legislators and policy makers understand the health care needs and costs of Americans who are covered by Medicare.

What can I expect?


The interview will take place over the phone or in-person. It will take about 60 minutes to complete. You will be interviewed by a professional NORC interviewer.

Your information will be kept private and secure.


  • Your response helps improve the quality of care you and others covered by Medicare receive.
  • Help the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) 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.
How are the data used?


MCBS data inform key policy research and provide unique insight into the Medicare program. The data help the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and policy makers better understand and evaluate the impact of existing programs and new policy initiatives and models.


Who is involved?


NORC at the University of Chicago partners with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) of the Department of Health and Human Services to carry out the MCBS.

Frequently Asked Questions


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?

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.

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.

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.