Codes and Frequencies
For persons who did not have health insurance coverage through Medicare or private insurance coverage, HINORPOORH indicates the person did not have insurance because they indicated they "can't obtain because of poor health, illness, or age". Respondents were handed a card which listed reasons for no insurance and were asked to pick all that applied, or could specify "other".
The response categories listed on the card changed over time, although the response, "can't obtain because of poor health, illness, or age" remained consistent across years.
For 1976 to 1989, persons may have had coverage through other public programs, such as Medicare (1976) Medicaid (1976 and 1980) or military health care (1976-1989). For 1976 to 1996, individuals may have also been covered through the government programs Aid to Families with Dependent Children or Supplemental Security Income. Coverage through these programs was not asked about until after the question for HINORPOORH in the survey. For 1993 to 1996, individuals were asked about coverage through these public programs before being asked about reasons for not having coverage (and thus are not in the universe for HINORPOORH). However, for 1993 to 1996, respondents could also indicate the person had insurance through "some other health plan."
The definition of private health insurance remained fairly consistent, except for 1993 to 1996 when single service plans were considered a form of health insurance. Thus individuals with such plans are not in the universe for HINORPOORH for these years. Coverage refers to at the time of the survey, except for 1993 to 1996, when it is in the previous month. See the Comparability tab for more details.
Changes in the universe and the choice of responses available to respondents reduce comparability over time. For 1993 to 1996 those 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. Prior to 1989, information on single service plans was not collected and these plans may have been rare. For 1980 to 1989, only individuals who did not have comprehensive private insurance coverage or Medicare were asked about reasons for "no insurance".
For the years 1976 to 1989, persons may have been covered through other forms of public assistance, such as Medicare, Medicaid, or military health care. Questions on these programs came afterthe question for "reason for no insurance" in the survey. For example, for 1980 and 1976, respondents could select "coverage through Medicaid" as a reason for no insurance. For 1993 to 1996 coverage through these programs were asked about prior to the question on reasons for no insurance. However, respondents could indicate the person coverage through some other plan (HINOROTHPLAN).
Users should not compare this variable with variables for reasons for no insurance for 1997 forward. For example, HINORPOORH is not comparable with variables for 1997 forward (such as HISTOP12) which indicates the insurance company refused coverage. From 1997 forward, the NCHS began editing the insurance coverage variables to ensure accuracy (see also the variable description for HINOTCOVE, for example).
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.
- 1976: Persons not covered by Medicaid, Medicare, or insurance that paid for any part of hospital, doctor or surgeon's bill (or who only had a health insurance plan that paid for accidents).
- 1980; 1982; 1984: Persons not covered by Medicare or health insurance that paid for any part of hospital, doctor, or surgeon's bill (or who only had a health insurance plan that paid for accidents).
- 1983: Persons quarters 3 or 4 not covered by Medicare or health insurance that paid for any part of hospital, doctor, or surgeon's bill (or who only had a health insurance plan that paid for accidents).
- 1986: Persons not covered by Medicare or health insurance that paid for any part of hospital, doctor, surgeon or dentist's bill (or who only had a health insurance plan that paid for accidents).
- 1989: Persons not covered by Medicare or any health insurance plans, including single service plans.
- 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.
- 1976, 1980, 1982-1984, 1986, 1989, 1993-1996