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Plan 1: Paid for by Medicare

Codes and Frequencies

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For persons who have a private insurance plan at the time of the survey, this variable indicates if the person's first plan was paid for by Medicare. As enacted in the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, Medicare beneficiaries can enroll in private health insurance plans, instead of through the original Medicare plans (Parts A and B). These programs were known as "Medicare + Choice" or "Part C" plans. Part C is known as "Medicare Advantage" (MA). For people who choose to enroll in a Medicare Advantage health plan, their coverage is provided through private insurance companies. Medicare pays a private health insurance company plan a fixed amount every month. Users may want to review information provided by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for more information.

Information was collected on up to four plans per family; for 2004 forward, only data for the first and second plans are publicly available. Users may want to see the related variables HIP2CARE, HIP3CARE, and HIP4CARE. Users may also want to use the variable HIPCARER, a recoded variable created by the IPUMS NHIS staff that indicates if the respondent had any plan paid for by Medicare.

HIP1CARE was edited for accuracy by the NCHS. Responses were edited based on plan name. A full description of the editing that occurred is provided under the variable descriptions for private insurance in HIPRIVATE and HIPRIVATEE; a brief description is provided under the link "more" below.


To clarify, during the course of data editing, the NCHS discovered errors in the responses to questions about insurance coverage. 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. Relevant to HIP1CARE, someone may have mistakenly reported having private insurance when in fact they did not. These individuals are not included in the frequencies reported in HIP1CARE.


This variable is mostly comparable over time. Slight changes were made to the response categories as new insurance programs became available. For all years, the categories of self or family (living in the household), employer or union, someone outside the household, Medicare, and Medicaid were available. For 1999 forward, the category Children's Health Insurance Program was added to the survey. From 1998 forward, the category, "state or local government or community program" was used in place of the 1997 category of "government program."

This variable is completely comparable for 2004 forward and comparable for 1997 to 2003. Information was collected on up to four plans per family; for 2004 forward, only data for the first and second plan are publicly available. However analysis by IHIS staff found very few individuals had more than 2 private insurance plans (less than 0.2 percent of the total number of individuals with private health insurance each year for 2004 to 2009). Persons with three or more plans have a "yes" response to the HIPRIVGT2 variable (available for 2004 forward).


  • 1997-2013; 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018: All persons with a private health insurance plan.


  • 1997-2018