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Has private health insurance through gov/com

Codes and Frequencies

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HIGOVCOM indicates that the person has private health insurance through a State or local government program or a community program.

Example of Program

The 1998 Field Representative's Manual defined this type of insurance as "a type of private insurance for which state or local government or community effort pays for part or all of the cost of a private insurance plan, such as Blue Cross/Blue Shield. The individual may also contribute the cost of the health insurance and may receive a card such as a Blue Cross/Blue Shield card. A community program or effort may include a variety of mechanisms to achieve health insurance for persons who would otherwise be uninsured. An example would be a private company giving a grant to an HMO to pay for health insurance coverage." For 1999 forward the Manual provided a different example of private health insurance through a state or local government program or a community program: "a private insurance company providing insurance for 500 uninsured children at little or no cost."

Definition of Private Insurance

During the years HIGOVCOM is available, private insurance was defined as any type of health insurance, including Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs), other than the public programs.


In 1997 and 1998, interviewers specifically instructed respondents to exclude private insurance plans which paid for only type of service (such as nursing home care, accidents, or dental care) or single service plans. For 1999 forward, a separate category indicating single service plans was added to the survey to further distinguish that single service plans were not a type of private health insurance. For all years, plans which only provided extra cash while hospitalized were not considered health insurance.

Users may want to review further description of private insurance provided at HIPRIVATE .

Data Editing and Recoding

Users should be aware that the responses for HIGOVCOM have not been edited for accuracy and respondents may have mistakenly reported their insurance information. During the course of data editing, the NCHS discovered many errors in the responses to questions about insurance coverage. This might be shown, for example, by a mismatch between the verbatim name of an insurance plan and the type of insurance coverage the person selected from the categories on the card.

Accordingly, the NCHS created a series of recoded insurance variables. For these recoded insurance variables, such as HIPRIVATEE, private health insurance, the data are back-edited, taking into account such factors as the proper classification of the verbatim names. The NCHS strongly advises analysts to use these recoded insurance variables as a more reliable source of information about the types of insurance coverage than is provided by respondents' original and unedited answers about their insurance type.


Apart from changes in the universe, this variable is comparable over time.

For all years respondents were first asked if they are covered by any kind of health insurance or some other kind of health care plan. For 1997 to 1999, only people who answered this initial question affirmatively have responses in the data to follow-up questions about their kind of health insurance and the details of coverage; for 1997 to 1999, those who did not answer the initial question affirmatively are coded NIU (not in in universe) for follow-up question on insurance characteristics. Beginning in 2000, the response "no insurance" was included as a valid response to the initial question. Thus, for 2000 forward, the universe for follow-up questions on insurance coverage type and details was "all persons" (including those with an affirmative response to HINONE or "no insurance").


  • 1998-1999: Persons covered by some type of health plan.
  • 2000-2003:


  • 1998-2003