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Reasons for no insurance: Other

Codes and Frequencies

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For sample adults and sample children (and, prior to 2019, persons) who do not currently have health insurance (except for 1993-1996 when coverage status referred to the previous month), HINOTHER is a recoded variable created by the IPUMS NHIS staff, which indicates whether the person does not have insurance coverage because of a reason other than those offered by the interviewer. The reasons offered changed over time, which affects the comparability of this variable; see the Comparability section for more details.

Data Collection Process

Those who were asked their reason for not having insurance did not have coverage through Medicare, Medicaid or some other public health insurance program, military health care, or comprehensive private insurance. Except for 1993-1996, those who only had single service plans were classified as uninsured and included in the universe for this variable. For 1980-1996, the universe excludes those receiving Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), as recipients were eligible for health care through these programs.

Prior to 2019, interviewers asked the reason(s) why the person had no insurance and handed the respondent a flashcard with various responses (including "other"). For 2019 forward, interviewers asked the reasons as separate questions. Initially, respondents were prompted to pick all responses that applied; for 2000-2018, they could specify up to five reasons only. The response categories listed on the card changed over time. For 1976 to 1996, HINOTHER includes those who selected the responses "have been healthy, not much sickness in the family, haven't needed health insurance," "dissatisfied with previous insurance," "don't believe in insurance," and "other"; for 1993-1996, also the response "free/inexpensive care available"; for 1997 forward, the response "some other reason"; 1998-2018, the responses "never had coverage," "no need/chooses not to have," and "moved from another county/state/country"; and for 2019 forward, the response "another reason."

Survey questions

The wording of questions about the reasons for not having insurance coverage changed over time. Users are strongly encouraged to review the user note Insurance Data Collection.


1976, 1980, 1982-1984, 1989, 1993-1996

  • Many people do not carry health insurance for various reasons. Hand Card Which of these statements describes why -- is not covered by any health insurance (or Medicare)? Any other reason? (Anything else?Circle all responses given.
  • Which of these are reasons {you/subject's name} stopped being covered or do not have health insurance? Show card2000 forward *Enter up to 5 reasons.
2019 forward
  • Are you currently uninsured because …?

HINOTHER differs from variables in the original NHIS public use files that identify people who chose the reasons for lack of coverage that are included in HINOTHER.


These variables include:

  • HINORBELIEF Reasons for no insurance: Do not believe in insurance
  • HINORDISS Reasons for no insurance: Dissatisfied with previous insurance
  • HINORHEAL Reasons for no insurance: Healthy/haven't needed
  • HINORFREE Reasons for no insurance: Free/inexpensive care available
  • HINOROTH Reasons for no insurance: Other
  • HISTOP16 Why coverage stopped: Never had coverage
  • HISTOP17 Why coverage stopped: Moved from another county/state/country
  • HISTOP19 Why coverage stopped: No need/chooses not to have
  • HISTOP22 Why coverage stopped: Other reason

HINOTHER differs from these related variables in excluding persons with health care coverage through public programs.


By contrast, the original NHIS variables included persons with public coverage in some years; for example, for 1993-1996, individuals could respond that a reason for "no insurance" was coverage through a public program. HINOTHER also excludes those receiving AFDC or SSI, who were eligible for public insurance through those programs.


The comparability of HINOTHER is limited by universe changes, changes in question wording, changes in response options, differences in data editing, and substantial questionnaire changes introduced in 2019.

Users are strongly encouraged to review the user notes Insurance Data Collection.


Note that those with coverage only through single service plans are not included in the universe for 1993 to 1996 (i.e., they were not asked reasons for no insurance). For 1997 only, the universe includes only those without insurance for less than 3 years.

As noted in the variable description, the wording of the response categories included in HINOTHER changed over time. Due to this the meaning of "other" shifts over time as the response categories changed.

For 1997 forward, whether people were classified as uninsured (and thus included in the universe for HINOTHER) was affected by backediting carried out by the NCHS staff. Along with finding errors in the type of insurance coverage reported, the NCHS staff determined that some persons who were reported as lacking insurance were actually covered, while others were reported as insured but actually lacked coverage (e.g., had single service coverage only).

For 1997 forward, data for HINOTHER were back-edited to correctly classify peoples' insurance coverage status, while the pre-1997 data were not back-edited. Users may thus want to exercise caution when comparing results from before and after 1997 for HINOTHER.

The NHIS questionnaire was substantially redesigned in 2019 to introduce a different data collection structure and new content. For more information on changes in terminology, universes, and data collection methods beginning in 2019, please see the user note.


  • 1976; 1980; 1982; 1984; 1986; 1989: All persons
  • 1983: All person in quarters 3 and 4
  • 1993: Persons in quarters 3 and 4 without any general health insurance coverage
  • 1994-1996: Persons without any general health insurance coverage
  • 1997: Persons without any general health insurance coverage for less than 3 years
  • 1998-2018: Persons who are not covered by any general health insurance coverage
  • 2019-2022: Sample adults age 18+ and sample children age 0-17 without health insurance coverage.


  • 1976, 1980, 1982-1984, 1986, 1989, 1993-2022