Health Data and Quality   Data Release    

MCDB Data Release

The Maryland Health Care Commission (MHCC) collects privately insured data (claims and membership), known as the Medical Care Data Base (MCDB), on a quarterly basis from life and health insurance carriers, health maintenance organizations (HMOs), third party administrators (TPAs), and pharmacy benefits managers (PBMs), who are licensed to do business in Maryland. The MCDB is the main component of Maryland’s All Payer Claims Database; MCDB maintenance and release are governed by COMAR 10.25.06. 

The process for applying for and acquiring MCDB data is provided below. The Standard Analytic File (SAF) which is available for release contains eligibility and professional, institutional, and pharmacy claims. Starting in 2015, the Medical Care Data Base (MCDB) excludes private plan data for self-insured ERISA due to the Gobeille v. Liberty Mutual supreme court ruling.  The SAF contains only privately fully-insured and self-insured non-ERISA health insurance plans for Maryland and Non-Maryland residents. The MCDB comprises of about 90-95% of the privately fully insured market and just about 25% - 30% of the self-insured market (post-Gobeille, primarily non-ERISA).

At this time, data files for 2010-2018 are available.

Applications for access to Medicaid Managed Care data for studies comparing the privately insured to Medicaid Managed Care patients can be submitted, but require separate approval from the Maryland Medicaid Administration. The fields available on the Medicaid MCO data sets have been aligned with MCDB fields to the extent possible. 

The data dictionary for the Standard Analytic File for all years can be viewed/downloaded here.

Dataset Available From For- Profit Per Year Non-Profit/Academic per year Re-Use For-Profit per Year* Re-Use Non-Profit/Academic Per Year*
 Member Eligibility  2010  $8000  $4000  $2000  $1000
 Professional Services Claims  2010  $8000  $4000  $2000  $1000
Institutional Services Claims  2010  $8000  $4000  $2000  $1000
Pharmacy Claims   2010  $8000  $4000  $2000  $1000
Dental Claims  2014  $4000  $2000  $1000  $500
* Re-Use fees apply for using existing released files for a different scope of work. A new application must be submitted for a different scope of work or project. See Step 9 below.

The steps below must be followed to apply for access to the data:

Step Description
1 Optional Request for Pre-Application Feasibility Assessment
Prior to submitting an Application for MCDB data, potential applicants have the option of submitting an Pre-Application Feasibility Assessment that will be conducted by MHCC staff. Submission of this request is not required prior to filing an Application for MCDB data in Step 2 below. Please be aware that any feasibility assessment by MHCC staff is an advisory opinion that is not binding on the Commission’s ultimate decision on an Application for MCDB Data. Please submit any questions about this pre-application feasibility assessment option and/or the completed Request form by email to  
2 Application
The Application requires detailed project information, data management plans, and data specifications and there is a $200 main application fee.
3 Data Release Review Committee
The Data Release Committee will review the main application for the qualifications of the applicant, appropriateness of the data for the research goals, whether data security and protections are adequate, and whether HIPAA regulations are thoroughly understood. The committee makes a recommendation to the Commission as to whether this application should be approved.
4 Institutional Review Board (IRB) Review and Approval is Required
A request for MCDB data must be approved or determined to meet an appropriate exemption from IRB review by an IRB that is either recognized by the MHCC or capable of being recognized by the MHCC. Such an IRB must be currently registered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and have current Federalwide Assurance registration. Any fees for the IRB must be paid directly to the IRB and are independent of MHCC’s application and data fees.
5 Commission Review
Once all materials have been reviewed by the Data Release Committee and they have recommended approval to the Commission, an IRB Approval must be received by the 2nd Thursday before the Commission meeting in order for the application to be reviewed by the Commissioners. The Commissioners have final authority to approve release of MCDB data. Unless agreed otherwise in the ensuing Data Use Agreement, terms of the Commissioner approval are valid for one year.
6 Data Use Agreement (DUA)
Once the application has been approved by the Commissioners, the data recipient will be required to complete the MHCC DUA, which will incorporate the application and require sufficient data security protections. The sample template will be modified based on the individual application.
7 Data Release
Data will be released upon execution of the DUA and payment of fees. Data will be made accessible for download via secure ftp.
8 Ongoing Reporting and Monitoring
All recipients of data will be required to report quarterly on data use and
active projects.  MHCC may review any project for compliance with the specified
DUA scope. 
9 Annual DUA Renewals
All DUA’s must be renewed and approved annually. For a different scope of work using previously released data, a new application with application fee and re-use fees are required, and this new application must be approved by MHCC prior to re-using the data. Re-use of previously released data costs $2000 per file per year for for-profit use and $1000 per file per year for non-profit use. Application for a new year of data for a previously approved scope of work requires a new application and fees at the standard new application rates.
10  Data Destruction
Data recipients must submit a Certificate of Data Destruction at the expiration of the DUA or project, whichever occurs first, as specified in the DUA.

Last Updated: 3/1/2021