What is a public use file (PUF)?

CMS publishes downloadable public use files (PUFs) that highlight distinct programs and processes within healthcare to help researchers and policymakers evaluate performance. Some of these PUFs are:

  • Medicaid Claims Synthetic Public Use Files (SynPUFs)
  • Health Insurance Exchange Public Use Files (Exchange PUFs)
  • Physician and Other Supplier Public Use Files (Physician and Other Supplier PUFs)

Why are public use files (PUFs) important in healthcare?

PUFs provide insight into a variety of complex and expansive healthcare processes. The Exchange PUF, for example, includes plan and provider level details on claims data, out-of-pocket payments, coverage limits, and more for individuals and small businesses covered by the Health Insurance Exchange program.