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Plan 1: Paid for by government program

Codes and Frequencies

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For sample adults and sample children who have a private insurance plan (HIPRIVATEE), HIP1OGOV indicates whether the person's first plan was paid for by a government program other than Medicare or Medicaid. The Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) is included in HIP1OGOV for 1997-1998 and 2019 forward. From 1999-2018, HIP1CHIP indicates if the person's first plan was paid for by CHIP. Prior to 2019, this variable is available for all persons who have a private insurance plan.

For all years, if the person reported "government program," then interviewers were instructed to probe to see if the program was Medicare or Medicaid (or SCHIP for 1999-2018) before entering the code for government program. If the respondent indicated that the government was their employer, the response was coded as "employer or union".

The 1998 Field Representative's Manual includes the following example of a private plan that is obtained through a government program:

"a type of private insurance for which state or local government or community effort pays for part or all of the cost of a private insurance plan, such as Blue Cross/Blue Shield. The individual may also contribute the cost of the health insurance and may receive a card such as a Blue Cross/Blue Shield card. A community program or effort may
include a variety of mechanisms to achieve health insurance for persons who would otherwise be uninsured. An example would be a private company giving a grant to an HMO to pay for health insurance coverage."

For all years HIP1OGOV is available the definition of private insurance coverage remained relatively consistent and excluded single service plans or plans which paid only for accidents. However, the definition, order, and wording of private health insurance changed over time. Users are strongly encouraged to review the user note Private Insurance Definitions.

Related Variables 

Information was collected on up to four plans per family until 2019; for 2004-2018, only data for plans one and two are publicly available. Users may want to see the variables HIP2OGOV, HIP3OGOV, and HIP4OGOV.

Persons with three or more plans have a "yes" response to the HIPRIVGT2 variable (available for 2004-2018). A very small number of persons have more than two private insurance plans. Additional information for the third and fourth plans for a person is available through a Data Research Center. Beginning in 2019, information is only collected on up to two private plans.

IPUMS NHIS has also created the variable, HIPOGOVR, which indicates whether the respondent had any private plan paid for by some other government program.

Data Editing and Recoding 

HIP1OGOV reflects responses that have been edited by the NCHS based on plan name. Only respondents verified to have private insurance are included in the universe for HIP1OGOV. A full description of the editing process and changes in definition is provided under the variable descriptions for private insurance in HIPRIVATEE; a brief description is provided below.

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. The NCHS created a series of recoded insurance variables, which are edited to correct for mistakenly reported insurance information. The NCHS strongly advises analysts to use these recoded insurance variables as a more reliable source of information about the types of insurance coverage than is provided by respondents' original and unedited answers about their insurance type. See HIPRIVATEE for a list of the recoded health insurance variables.


This variable is mostly comparable over time, though there are differences in the response categories for 1997-1998, 1999-2018, and 2019 forward. For 1998, the category "government program" was changed to "state or local government" and the category "someone outside the household" was changed to "someone outside the household or community program."

From 1999 forward "community program" was separated from the category provided of "someone outside the household and moved into a "state or local government or community program" category. Beginning in 2019, the "state or local government or community program" category was changed to "Other government program." For 1999-2018, respondents could also report the category "CHIP (Children's Health Insurance Plan)" as separate from government program.

Information was collected on up to four plans per family until 2019; for 2004-2018, only data for plans one and two are publicly available. However, this reduction in the number of plans publicly available does not greatly reduce comparability as very few individuals have more than two private insurance plans. Persons with more than two plans have a "yes" response to the HIPRIVGT2 variable (available for 2004-2018).

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.


  • 1997-2018: Persons with private health insurance plans.
  • 2019-2022: Sample adults age 18+ and sample children age 0-17 with private health insurance plans (HIPRIVATEE).


  • 1997-2022