Increasing response rates in a survey of medicaid enrollees: The effect of a prepaid monetary incentive and mixed modes (mail and telephone)

Timothy J. Beebe, Michael E. Davern, Donna D. McAlpine, Kathleen Thiede Call, Todd H. Rockwood

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


Objectives: We sought to evaluate the effect of pairing a mixed-mode mail and telephone methodology with a prepaid $2.00 cash incentive on response rates in a survey of Medicaid enrollees stratified by race and ethnicity. Research Design: Sampling was conducted in 2 stages. The first stage consisted of a simple random sample (SRS) of Medicaid enrollees. In the second stage. American Indian, African American, Latino, Hmong, and Somali enrollees were randomly sampled. A total of 8412 enrollees were assigned randomly to receive a mail survey with no incentive or a $2.00 bill. Results: The response rate within the SRS after the mail portion was 54% in the incentive group and 45% in the nonincentive group. Response rates increased considerably with telephone follow-ups. The incentive SRS response rate increased to 69%, and the nonincentive response rate increased to 64%. Differences between incentive conditions are more pronounced after the first mailing (P < 0.01); almost all differences remained significant (P < 0.05) after the completion of the mail mode. The inclusion of the $2.00 incentive had similar effects on response rates and cost across the different racial and ethnic strata, except for Latino enrollees. Conclusions: A mixed-mode mail and telephone methodology is effective for increasing response rates in a Medicaid population overall and within different racial and ethnic groupings. The effectiveness of this strategy can be enhanced, in terms of response rate and cost, by including a $2.00 prepaid incentive.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)411-414
Number of pages4
JournalMedical Care
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2005


  • Bias
  • Cost effectiveness
  • Financial incentives
  • Medicaid
  • Survey research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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