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Reasons for no insurance: Coverage through Medicaid or Welfare

Codes and Frequencies

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For persons who did not have private health insurance coverage, this variable indicates the respondent did not have private insurance because they were covered through Medicaid. Persons were handed a card which listed reasons or could specify "other", and were asked to pick all that applied.

Persons may have had coverage through other public programs, such as Medicare or Medicaid (1976 and 1980). This is because coverage through Medicaid or other public programs was not asked about until later in the survey. In 1976, only individuals age 65 and older were asked a direct question about Medicare coverage (HIMCARE). Persons under age 65 with Medicare would indicate such coverage as a reason for not having private insurance, HINORMCARE. In addition, some persons may have received Aid to Families with Dependent Children or Supplemental Security Income and these individuals would automatically be enrolled in Medicaid. Coverage refers to at the time of the survey.

The definition of private insurance was consistent for 1976 and 1980. It excluded plans which pay only for accidents, and was generally defined as a health insurance plan which pays any part of a hospital, doctor's, or surgeon's bill.


Apart from changes in the universe, this variable is mostly comparable over time.
Users should not compare this variable with variables for reasons for no insurance for 1997 forward.


Because persons in the universe for HINORMCAID may have had coverage through other programs, HINORMCAID is not comparable directly with variables for 1997 forward (such as HISTOP15, which indicates the respondent had no insurance because they lost Medicaid coverage because of a new job).

In addition, for 1997 forward, the NCHS began editing the insurance coverage variables to ensure accuracy (See variable description for HINOTCOVE, for example). 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 verified the respondent's coverage status. For 1997, only persons without coverage for less than 3 years received the question on reason for no insurance.


  • 1976: Persons not covered by Medicare or Medicaid, persons not covered by insurance that pays hospital, doctor or surgeon's bill, and persons with an insurance plan that only pays for accidents.
  • 1980: Persons not covered by Medicare, persons not covered by insurance that pays hospital, doctor or surgeon's bill, and persons with an insurance plan that only pays for accidents.


  • 1976, 1980