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Covered by Indian Health Service: Recode

Codes and Frequencies

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HIHSE indicates whether the person currently had health insurance coverage through the Indian Health Service (IHS).

The Indian Health Service provides medical assistance to eligible American Indians at IHS facilities and helps pay the cost of selected health care services from other facilities. The Field Representative's Manual for 1997 forward defined the Indian Health Service as "the Federal health care program for Native Americans."

In Health, United States, an annual report on the health status of the nation submitted by the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services to the President and Congress, persons with only Indian Health Service coverage are considered uninsured.

HIHSE is a recoded variable created by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) and included in the original NHIS public use data. HIHSE, like other recoded health insurance variables in these data, is based on responses to a series of questions and by editing carried out by the NCHS.

Data Editing and Recoding

During the course of data editing, the NCHS discovered many errors in the responses to questions about insurance coverage. Often, respondents misclassified the type of insurance they had.


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 HIHSE, the data are back-edited, taking into account such factors as the proper classification of the verbatim names of insurance plans and responses to questions about why insurance coverage had stopped. 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.

Related Variables 

In addition to HIHSE, IPUMS NHIS contains the following recoded insurance variables: HICHIPE (Covered by Children's Health Insurance Program: Recode); HIPRIVATEE (Covered by private health insurance: Recode); HIMILITE (Covered by military health insurance: Recode); HIMCAIDE (Covered by Medicaid: Recode); HIMCAREE (Covered by Medicare: Recode); HISTATEE (Covered by other state-sponsored health plan: Recode); and HIOTHGOVE (Covered by other government program: Recode).


The basic meaning and universe for this variable are consistent over time. Comparability may, however, be limited by changes in the questions used to gather the information used for back-editing the data, and by changes in the back-editing procedures used by the NCHS.


  • 1997-2013; 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018: All persons.


  • 1997-2018