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It is difficult to know, in advance of a data request, whether the utilization data available in the MAX data for managed care enrollees will be of adequate quantity or quality to support research analysis. This type of utilization data is referred to in MAX as “encounter data” and is recorded in records labelled as such. Use the Type of Claim variable to identify whether a record in MAX represents a FFS claim (value=1) or a MCO encounter record (value=3). This variable is found in each of the MAX utilization files: Inpatient, Other Therapy, Prescription Drug and Long Term Care.

The utility of encounter data for research analysis varies by state, enrollment group, file type, and/or year.

Researchers can use the following resources to assess the available encounter data in MAX before they have received the data.

Descriptive information on Medicaid managed care plans is available.