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Plan 2: Out-of-pocket premium cost

Codes and Frequencies

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For persons who were covered by two private insurance plans, the second of which was paid for by the person or a family member living in the household, ("2" for HIP2SELF), this variable indicates the amount spent for insurance premiums, including payroll deductions. Respondents provided the amount in dollars spent on premiums (as a continuous measure) and the time period (month, week, etc). The IPUMS NHIS recode for HIP2COST also indicates whether the amount reported was more than $20,000 dollars (code "20000").

For 1999 to 2001, interviewers asked respondents for the amount paid on premiums in the past 12 months (e.g., "During the PAST 12 MONTHS, how much did {you/your family} spend for health insurance premiums for {plan name}?"). For 2002 forward, respondents were asked how much they (or their family} currently spend for health insurance premiums for each plan and could then specify the time period for the expenditure (e.g., once a week, a month or yearly). For 2002, responses were recoded to indicate annual expenditure.

In general, the definition and measurement of private health insurance for 1999 forward remained consistent. Single service plans or plans which paid only for accidents were not considered private insurance. Users are strongly encouraged to refer to HIPRIVATEE for more information on the change in measurement of private insurance over time.

Related variables

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Data Editing and Recoding
For 1997 forward, 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 responses for HIP2COST reflect editing by NCHS to ensure that respondents do have private insurance. A full description of the editing process and changes in definition is provided under the variable descriptions for private insurance in HIPRIVATEE.


This variable is mostly comparable over time, though there were slight differences in the recall period, as mentioned in the variable description. For 1999 to 2001, the question inquired about the amount paid on premiums in the past 12 months (e.g., "During the PAST 12 MONTHS, how much did {you/your family} spend for health insurance premiums for {plan name}?"). For 2002 forward, respondents could specify the amount and the time period, for example, $100 each month.

Users may also want to note that the survey explicitly indicated that universe for this variable is respondents who indicated that they or someone in the family pays for the insurance plan ("2" in HIP2SELF). For 2004 forward, this referred to the respondent or family member living in the household, whereas the term "living in the household" was not explicitly used for HIP2SELF in 1997-2003.

This variable is not directly comparable with HI2FAMPPAY (amount spent by family on premium last month) available for 1992 to 1996. In addition to changes in the universe and definition of private insurance for 1992 to 1996, the responses for HI2FAMPPAY were not edited by the NCHS to verify accuracy of coverage of private insurance.


  • 1999-2013; 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018: Persons with at least 2 private health insurance plans with plan 2 paid for by self or family.


  • 1999-2018