Codes and Frequencies
For persons who did not have health insurance coverage through Medicare, Medicaid or other public assistance, Indian Health Insurance, military health care or private insurance, this variable indicates whether the person did not have insurance because he or she indicated free care was available. Respondents were handed a card which listed reasons and were asked to pick all that applied, or could specify "other."
Persons may have insurance through "some other health plan" and may have also received health care through Aid to Families with Dependent Children or Supplemental Security Income (because persons in those programs were automatically enrolled in Medicaid). Coverage through these public programs was not asked about until later in the survey.
Health insurance coverage refers to the month before the interview. The definition of private health insurance remained consistent for 1993 to 1996 and during this time single service plans were considered a form of private health insurance. Thus individuals with such plans are not in the universe for HINORFREE for these years.
Apart from changes in the universe, this variable is comparable over time.
Users should not compare this variable with variables for reasons for no insurance for 1997 forward. For example, HINORFREE is not comparable with variables for 1997 forward (such as HISTOP19) which indicates the respondent chose not to have insurance. Persons with single service insurance plans are not included in the universe (they were not asked reasons for no insurance). Individuals with such plans were considered to be covered by insurance. In addition, for 1993 or 1996, persons may have been covered by "some other plan," or were covered through Aid to Families with Dependent Children or received Supplement Security Income. Users may want to see the variable HINOTHER, which has been recoded to increase comparability of HINORFREE over time.
From 1997 forward, the NCHS began editing the insurance coverage variables to ensure accuracy. 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. The variables for 1997 forward reflect editing that ensured the individual lacked any insurance coverage. Other differences which reduce comparability are changes in the universe. For 1997 the universe includes only those without insurance for less than 3 years and for all years from 1997 forward, those with single service plans are asked about reasons for no insurance.
- 1993: Persons in quarters 3 or 4 not covered by Medicaid, Medicare, other public assistance, Indian Health insurance, CHAMPUS/CHAMP-VA, other military health care, or any private health insurance plan.
- 1994-1996: Persons not covered by Medicaid, Medicare, other public assistance, Indian Health insurance, CHAMPUS/CHAMP-VA, other military health care, or any private health insurance plan.