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Has any private insurance plan paid for by other government program (not Medicaid)

Codes and Frequencies

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HIPOGOVR is a recoded variable created by the IPUMS NHIS staff, which indicates, for all persons with at least one private health insurance plan, whether the plan was paid for by a state, local, or community program. If the person selected "state or local or community" program from the options on a flashcard list, interviewers probed to determine whether coverage was through or paid for by Medicare, Medicaid, or SCHIP before recording the "state or local or community" government program category.

Most private insurance plans paid for by public funding are through Medicaid, Medicare, or SCHIP (see HIPCAIDR, HIPCARER, HIPCHIPR). Private insurance paid for by a government program (other than by these sources) may include premium assistance programs, in which state or local governments supply a premium subsidy that allows individuals to purchase coverage on the private market, rather than receiving direct coverage through the state's program.

Number of Private Plans Considered

Information was collected on up to four plans per family; for 2004 forward, only data on plans one and two are publicly available. Therefore, for 1997 to 2003, this variable indicates whether the respondent had any one of four plans paid for by such a state government program; for 2004 and forward, it indicates whether the respondent had any of two plans paid for by such a program.

Changes in the number of insurance plans considered should have relatively little effect on the results for HIPOGOVR.


Persons with three or more plans have a "yes" response in HIPRIVGT2 (available for 2004 forward). Analysis by IHIS staff indicates that a very small number of persons (less than 0.2 percent of the total number of individuals with private health insurance per year for 2004 to 2009) had three or more private insurance plans. For 2004 forward, information on third and fourth insurance plans is available only through the restricted access files available through Research Data Centers.

Survey text

For each private insurance plan, interviewers asked, "Who pays for this plan?" and handed out a card that listed various options. Respondents could pick all categories that applied.

Definition of Private Insurance

The definition of private insurance and the data collection process changed over time (see User Notes, "Changes in the Definition of Private Insurance" and "Changes in the Data Collection Process). For 1997 forward, the definition remained largely the same, and excluded single service plans.


For 1997 forward, the NHIS Field Representative's Manuals defined private health insurance to be any type of health insurance, including Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs), other than the public programs of Medicare, Medicaid, Military health care/VA, CHAMPUS/TRICARE/CHAMP-VA, Indian Health Service, CHIP (the Children's Health Insurance Plan, beginning in 1999), state-sponsored health plans, and health insurance from other government programs.

For 2001 forward, the Manuals indicated that coverage through COBRA (the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985) or by
TCC (Temporary Continuation of Coverage) should be considered private health insurance (obtained through an employer or workplace).


HIPOGOVR is largely comparable over time. The reduction in the number of plans for which data are publicly available should have little effect, given the rarity of persons with more than two private insurance plans.

As new insurance programs became available, slight changes were made to the response categories about who paid for the plans.


For all years, the categories of self or family (living in the household), employer or union, someone outside the household, Medicare, and Medicaid were available. For 1999 forward, respondents could report the category Children's Health Insurance Program. From 1998 forward, the category, "state or local government or community program" was used in place of the 1997 category of "government program."

Data editing instituted for 1997 forward may improve the accuracy of HIPOGOVR and thus reduce its comparability with other insurance variables.


To clarify, in cases of mismatch between the verbatim name of an insurance plan and the type of insurance coverage reported by a respondent, NCHS staff reclassified person's insurance type. Such back-editing was applied to HIPOGOVR in all years, so the comparability of the variable itself is not compromised. However, users should exercise caution when comparing HIPOGOVR (and other insurance data from 1997 forward) with insurance variables from earlier years.


  • 1997-2018: Persons who are covered by a general health insurance plan (excludes single service plans)


  • 1997-2018