Importing Medical Expenditure Panel Survey Data Into SAS

I did an in-house SAS user group presentation last week on using SAS survey procedures to analyze Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) data with regard to insurance coverage in the context of healthcare reform (ACA and the New Individual Segment: Profiling the Uninsured and Non-Group Insured Populations with MEPS 2010 and SAS Survey Procedures). The MEPS 2011 consolidated data file is available as of September 2013 for download. It contains detailed information (over 1900 variables) on demographics, household income, employment, diagnosed health conditions, additional health status issues, medical expenditures and utilization, satisfaction with and access to care, and insurance coverage of those surveyed.

There are several government data sets made available to the public each year that are designed for easy analysis with SAS and other statistical programming software (including STATA and SPSS). I attended a BASUG training by Paul Gorrell back in 2012 which introduced me to some of these data sets. The MEPS website includes programming statements to help you import the data to SAS. If you have a SAS/STAT license with Base SAS of version 9 or above, you have access to four SAS survey procedures (PROC SURVEYFREQ, PROC SURVEYMEANS, PROC SURVEYREG, PROC SURVEYLOGISTIC) that you can use to analyze data from complex survey designs such as MEPS.

You can get started in just a few easy steps. There are a couple of ways to do this, but this is the method I used:
1. Download and run the h147ssp.exe file to extract the data to your chosen library.
2. After you execute the file above, you should be able to find the sas transport data file (h147.ssp) in your folder. Now you have to tell SAS where to find it with a FILENAME statement.
3. Assign the LIBNAME where you want your SAS data set to be created.
4. Import the data using PROC XCOPY.

Here’s an example:
LIBNAME MYLIB ‘C:\Users\C31497\Desktop’;
FILENAME H147 ‘C:\Users\C31497\Desktop\h147.ssp’;

That’s it! Next you can run a PROC CONTENTS to get a full variable listing, or you can view the online codebook on the MEPS site. You can find out more about SAS Survey procedures in my NESUG 2013 paper, Proc SurveyCorr.

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