Codes and Frequencies
For sample adults and sample children who have a private insurance plan (HIPRIVATEE), HIP1SELF indicates whether the first plan was paid for by the person or a family member (living in the household). Prior to 2019, this variable is available for all persons who have a private insurance plan. The text "living in the household" was added to the survey for 2004 forward; for 1997- 2003, the text read "Self or Family." If the respondent was self-employed and obtained coverage through self-employment or professional associations, then they would report coverage under HIP1EMP, employer-sponsored private coverage obtained through the workplace.
For all years HIP1SELF 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.
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 the related variables HIP2SELF, HIP3SELF, and HIP4SELF.
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 staff has also created the variable HIPBUYOWNR, available for 1976 forward for years in which survey data is available, which indicates whether the respondent had any private plan purchased directly.
For 1997 forward, HIP1SELF 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 HIP1SELF. 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 were slight differences in the response categories for 2004 forward, as noted in the variable description. There were slight changes to other responses as well. The category "someone outside the household" used in the 1997 survey was changed to "someone outside the household or community program" in the 1998 survey. From 1999-2018, the term "community program" was separated from "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 Children's Health Insurance Program, as this became available in 1999.
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.
- 2019-2020: Sample adults age 18+ and sample children age 0-17 with private health insurance plans (HIPRIVATEE).