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Outlier flag indicates wage flagged but not edited


For all persons in rounds 3 and 5, OUTFLAG is a flag that indicates the person's wage was flagged as an outlier but not edited. As reported in the MEPS 2020 Full Year Consolidated Data File documentation, AHRQ did not perform the typical wage outlier editing process in 2020. Wages are flagged as outliers when an individual reported a change in wage and when their new wage:


has a change in wage greater than 100%,
is no different than their previously reported wage,
is between $0 and $1, or
has a higher value than the previous year's top code value

According to the 2020 MEPS Full Year Consolidated documentation, most outliers meeting the criteria listed above are due to keystroke or respondent error and were fixed to reflect the correct response. Because these edits were not made in the 2020 sample, OUTFLAG was used to identify the variables that would have been flagged for review and possible edits.

In addition to the 4 cases listed above, there are also 2 additional values that describe a combination of the 4 cases:


wage is both between $0-$1 and change in wage is greater than 100%.
wage is greater than previous year wage top code and change in wage is greater than 100%

Related Variables

OUTFLAG corresponds to the following variables:

  • WAGEHRRD, hourly wage for current main job, round record
  • WAGEDIFFRD, wages different than last relevant round, round record
  • WAGENEWRD, updated hourly wage at current main job, round record

Codes and Frequencies

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This variable has no comparability issues.


  • 2020: All persons.


  • 2020



This variable has no flags.