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Evaluating Web Survey Respondents’ Interaction with the Health Insurance Questions on the American Community Survey

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Working Paper Number SEHSD WP2023-01


The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), implemented in 2014, introduced new mechanisms for accessing health coverage, including the health insurance Marketplace. In addition, some people with incomes below a certain threshold may have been eligible to receive a subsidy or tax credit that covered part of the cost of Marketplace coverage. In 2019 the U.S. Census Bureau introduced a two-part health insurance premium and subsidy receipt question to the American Community Survey (ACS) that can be used to produce an approximation of the population with subsidized Marketplace coverage. Since the majority of the ACS person-level data come from the web instrument, we analyzed the 2019 ACS web survey paradata internal file in order to evaluate respondents’ interactions with the health insurance coverage question and the two-part premium and subsidy question, as well as to identify potential problems that might impact data quality. Results suggest that respondents did not have issues interacting with the health insurance questions. However, some groups of respondents, such as those identifying as Asian, were more likely to access the “Help” link, use the “Previous” button, and change their answers. 


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