Codes and Frequencies
For persons in families with at least four private health insurance plans, HI4EMPPAY indicates whether any of the cost of the premium of the fourth plan reported was paid for by an employer or union. If necessary, interviewers defined an insurance premium to respondents as "regular payments for health insurance coverage only, not for health care services. Frequently, these payments are made by payroll deductions."
Details about the characteristics of insurance plans (such as HI4EMPPAY) reflect plans for any family member in the household. In order to determine if the person (rather than someone else in the family) was covered by this plan, analysts should use the variable HI4PCOV (Health Insurance Plan 4: Person's Coverage Status), which indicates whether the person was covered by the plan.
Please use the IPUMS NHIS drop-down menus and search function for other related variables.
Information was collected on up to four plans per family (and on up to five plans in 1989).
Thus, information about payment of premiums by an employer or union for the family's private insurance plan(s) may appear in multiple variables: HI1EMPPAY, through HI4EMPPAY (and HI5EMPPAY for 1989). Likewise, the complementary variables HI1PCOV, through HI4PCOV (and HI5PCOV in 1989) indicate coverage status for the individual under each plan.
Users may prefer to use the constructed variable HIPEMPAYR (Has any private insurance plan paid in part or full by employer), which was created by the IHIS staff using HI1EMPPAY through HI5EMPPAY and which indicates whether an individual was covered by any plan in which the employer or union paid for some of the cost of premiums.
Definitions of Private Coverage
The definition of private health insurance was consistent from 1989 to 1996, with the key exception that single service plans were considered to be a form of private health insurance for 1993 to 1996.
For 1989 and 1992, respondents with single service plans were not considered to have private health insurance and did not receive the question for HI4EMPPAY. For 1993 to 1996, those with single service plans were considered to be covered by private health insurance and received the question for HI4EMPPAY.
Apart from changes in the survey quarters in which this question was asked and the inclusion of single service plans for 1993 to 1996, HI4EMPPAY is comparable over time.
Note that HI4EMPPAY and HIP4EMP (available for 1997 forward) are not entirely comparable. For 1997 forward, single service plans were not considered to be health insurance. Details of private plans (such as cost) for 1997 forward also reflect back editing by the NCHS staff, who verified the accuracy of the reported type of insurance coverage.
Because these caveats limit comparability, users may wish to employ the constructed variable HIPEMPAYR (Has any private insurance plan paid in part or full by employer), which covers the period from 1989 forward. This summary variable was created by the IHIS staff to indicate whether an individual was covered by any insurance plan paid for by the employer.
- 1989: Persons who were covered by 4 private health insurance plans that pays any part of a hospital, doctor's, surgeon's or dentist's bill (excluding Medicare or single service plans) and whose employer paid any part of the plan
- 1992: Persons covered by 4 private health insurance plans (excluding Medicare and single service plans) obtained through an employer or union.
- 1993: Persons in quarters 3 and 4 who were covered by 4 private health insurance plans (including single service plans) originally obtained through an employer or union.
- 1994=1996: Persons covered by 4 private health insurance plan (including single service plans) originally obtained through an employer or union.
- 1989, 1992-1996