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Plan 1: Prescription drug benefit

Codes and Frequencies

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For sample adults and sample children (and, prior to 2019, persons) with at least one private health insurance plan (HIPRIVATEE), HIP1RXCOV indicates whether the first private plan paid for any of the costs for medicines prescribed by the doctor. In 2004-2018, if necessary, interviewers asked respondents, "Does this plan have a drug benefit?"

Related Variables 

Information was collected on up four plans per family until 2019; however data are only publicly available for plans one and two. Users may want to see HIP2RXCOV and the IPUMS NHIS recoded variable HIPRXCOVR, which indicates whether either plan covered prescription drugs.

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. See the Survey Description document available on the NCHS website for more information.

Data Editing and Recoding 

HIP1RXCOV is part of a series of follow-up questions for individuals who indicated they had private health insurance. The frequencies provided in HIP1RXCOV reflect responses which have been edited based on plan names. Users are strongly encouraged to refer to HIPRIVATEE for more information on the editing process and the definition of private health insurance.

Not all persons were accurate in reporting what type of health insurance they had. This might be shown, for example, by a mismatch between the type of insurance coverage the person selected (when handed a card listing various types) and the verbatim name of the insurance plan. For this reason, the NCHS edited the responses to reassign persons to the correct type of insurance coverage.


This variable is completely comparable before 2019.

Because of the editing process that NCHS used to verify insurance status for 1997 forward, users should avoid combining this indicator of drug coverage with pre-1997 variables. These variables reflect reporting of private coverage that has not been verified for accuracy (i.e., not been subject to NCHS editing).

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.


  • 2004-2018: Persons covered by private health insurance.
  • 2019-2022: Sample adults age 18+ and sample children age 0-17 covered by private health insurance (HIPRIVATEE).


  • 2004-2022