A statistician loves the #insurancepoll...now how do we analyze it?

Amanda Palmer broke Twitter yesterday with her insurance poll. She started off just talking about how hard it is for musicians who rarely have health insurance, but then wandered into polling territory. She sent out a request for people to respond with the following information:

quick twitter poll. 1) COUNTRY?! 2) profession? 3) insured? 4) if not, why not, if so, at what cost per month (or covered by job)?

This quick little poll struck a nerve with people and her Twitter feed blew up. Long story short, tons of interesting information was gathered from folks. This information is frequently kept semi-obscured, particularly what is the cost of health insurance for folks in different places. This isn’t the sort of info that insurance companies necessarily publicize widely and isn’t the sort of thing people talk about. 

The results were really fascinating and its worth reading the above blog post or checking out the hashtag: #insurancepoll. But the most fascinating thing for me as a statistician was thinking about how to analyze these data. @aubreyjaubrey is apparently collecting the data someplace, hopefully she’ll make it public. 

At least two key issues spring to mind:

  1. This is a massive convenience sample. 
  2. It is being collected through a social network

Although I’m sure there are more. If a student is looking for an amazingly interesting/rich data set and some seriously hard stats problems, they should get in touch with Aubrey and see if they can make something of it!

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.