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Codes and Frequencies

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For all persons with at least one private health insurance plan, HIP1MDPIC indicates whether the person (or persons in the family covered by the plan) could choose any doctor or must choose from a list of doctors. For all years, persons with single service insurance plans (such as those which paid only for accidents) were not asked this question.

For all years, HIP1MDPIC included private health insurance that was any type of health insurance excluding single service plans, or plans that paid for only one type of service. From 2001 forward, COBRA and TCC were specifically included as private health insurance.

For 1992-1996, details about the characteristics of insurance plans (such as HIP1MDPIC) reflect plans for any family member in the household. In order to determine if the person (rather than someone else in the family) was covered by this plan, analysts should use the variable HI1PCOV (Health Insurance Plan 1: Person's Coverage Status), which indicates whether the person was covered by the plan.


Thus, information about whether the person had private insurance that was currently carried through an employer or union may appear in multiple variables: HI1EMP, through HI4EMP. Likewise, the complementary variables HI1PCOV through HI4PCOV indicate coverage status for the individual under each plan.

Information was collected on up to four plans per family; for 2004 forward, only data for plans one and two are publicly available. Users may also want to see HIP1MDPIC, HIP3MDPIC and HIP4MDPIC.

In addition, the IPUMS NHIS created the variable HIPMDPICR, which indicates if the person had any plan in which they could choose any doctor.


Persons with three or more plans have a "yes" response to the HIPRIVGT2 variable (available for 2004 forward). A very small number of persons (less than 0.2 percent of the total number of individuals with private health insurance per year for 2004 to 2009) had more than two private insurance plans. Additional information for the third and fourth plans for a person is available through a Data Research Center.

Data Editing and Recoding 

HIP1MDPIC is part of a series of follow-up questions for individuals who indicated they had private health insurance. Not all respondents were accurate in reporting that they had private health insurance. 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. For this reason, the NCHS edited the responses to reassign respondents to the correct category of coverage status. The frequencies provided in HIP1MDPIC reflect responses in which private insurance was verified though editing on plan names. Users are strongly encouraged to refer to HIPRIVATEE for more information.


This variable is completely comparable for 1998 forward and is completely comparable for 1993 to 1996. Because of the editing process that occurred from 1998 forward that verified the accuracy of report for private insurance coverage, users may want to avoid comparing the surveys for prior to 1997 with those that came after. See HIPRIVATEE for more details on the recoding.


  • 1992: Persons with at least one private health insurance plan (excluding plans that paid for only one type of service, e.g, single service plans).
  • 1993: Persons in quarters 3 and 4 covered by private health insurance, and whose private health insurance pays for a variety of services, or for whom this was unknown (excludes single service plans).
  • 1994-1996: Persons covered by private health insurance, and whose private health insurance pays for a variety of services or for whom this was unknown (excludes single service plans).
  • 1998-2018: Persons with at least one private health insurance plan.


  • 1992-1996, 1998-2018