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Health insurance plan 5: Employer/union pays all or part of premium

Codes and Frequencies

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For persons in families with at least five private health insurance plans, HI5EMPPAY indicates whether any of the cost of the premium of the fifth 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 HI5EMPPAY) 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 HI5PCOV (Health Insurance Plan 5: Person's Coverage Status), which indicates whether the person was covered by the plan.

Related variables

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, HI2EMPPAY, HI3EMPPAY, and HI4EMPPAY (and HI5EMPPAYfor 1989). Likewise, the complementary variables HI1PCOV, HI2PCOV, HI3PCOV, and 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.

Users are strongly encouraged to review the user notes Insurance Data Collection and Private Insurance Definitions.


In 1989, respondents with single service plans were not considered to have private health insurance and did not receive the question for HI5EMPPAY.


There are no comparability issues with HI5EMPPAY.

Note that HI5EMPPAY and HIP5EMP (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 covered by private health insurance that pays any part of hospital, doctor or dental bill and whose employer pays for any part of the plan


  • 1989