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Plan 1: Paid for by government program

Codes and Frequencies

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For persons who have at least one private insurance plan, HIP1OGOV indicates whether the person's first plan was paid for by a government program.

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 forward) 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:

"is 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."

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 want to see the variables HIP2OGOV, HIP3OGOV, and HIP4OGOV. In addition the IPUMS NHIS has created the recoded variable, HIPOGOVR, which indicates whether if the respondent had any plan paid for by some other government program.

For all years in which HIP1OGOV is available, single service plans or plans which paid only for accidents were not considered private insurance.

HIP1OGOV reflects a verbatim response and is not edited for accuracy based on the plan name. A full description of the editing process and changes in definition is provided under the variable description for private insurance in HIPRIVATEE; a brief description is provided under the "more" link 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 HIP1OGOV, someone may have mistakenly reported having private insurance when in fact they did not. These individuals are not included in the frequencies reported in HI1POGOV.


This variable is mostly comparable over time, though there are differences in the response categories for 1997 and 1998 as compared to 1999 forward. For 1998, the category "government program" was changed "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. For 1999 forward, respondents could also report the category Children's Health Insurance Program, as this became available in 1999.

Information was collected on up to four plans per family; for 2004 forward, only data for plans one and two are publicly available. However, very few individuals have more than two private insurance plans.

As noted in the variable description, the variables for 1997 forward have been edited by the NCHS to improve accuracy of the type of insurance the respondent had (private, Medicaid, SCHIP, Military, etc.). This reduces comparability with variables with earlier years.


  • 1997-2013; 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018: Persons with private health insurance plans.


  • 1997-2018