Using self-reported health measures to predict high-need cases among medicaid-eligible adults

Laura R. Wherry, Marguerite E. Burns, Lindsey Jeanne Leininger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective To assess the ability of different self-reported health (SRH) measures to prospectively identify individuals with high future health care needs among adults eligible for Medicaid.

Data Sources The 1997-2008 rounds of the National Health Interview Survey linked to the 1998-2009 rounds of the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (n = 6,725).

Study Design Multivariate logistic regression models are fitted for the following outcomes: having an inpatient visit; membership in the top decile of emergency room utilization; and membership in the top cost decile. We examine the incremental predictive ability of six different SRH domains (health conditions, mental health, access to care, health behaviors, health-related quality of life [HRQOL], and prior utilization) over a baseline model with sociodemographic characteristics. Models are evaluated using the c-statistic, integrated discrimination improvement, sensitivity, specificity, and predictive values.

Principal Findings Self-reports of prior utilization provide the greatest predictive improvement, followed by information on health conditions and HRQOL. Models including these three domains meet the standard threshold of acceptability (c-statistics range from 0.703 to 0.751).

Conclusions SRH measures provide a promising way to prospectively profile Medicaid-eligible adults by likely health care needs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2147-2172
Number of pages26
JournalHealth Services Research
Issue numberS2
StatePublished - Dec 1 2014


  • Medicaid
  • prediction models
  • risk assessment
  • self-rated health measurement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy


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