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Has any private insurance plan paid for by self/family

Codes and Frequencies

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HIPSELFR is a recoded variable created by the IPUMS NHIS staff, which indicates, for each person who had at least one private health insurance health plan, whether he or she had at least one plan that was paid for by that person or by another family member living in the same household.

Survey text
Interviewers asked "Who pays for this health insurance plan?" and handed the respondent a flashcard that listed various responses. The respondent was directed to pick all applicable answers.

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, HIPSELFR indicates whether respondents had any of up to four plans paid for by themselves (or by a co-resident family member); for 2004 forward, the variable reflects responses based on two plans. Changes in the number of insurance plans considered have little effect on the results for HIPSELFR.


Persons with three or more plans have a "yes" response to the HIPRIVGT2 variable which is for 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.

Definition of Private Insurance

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

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

The definition of private insurance and the data collection process for insurance variables changed over time. (See the User Notes on "Changes in the Definition of Private Insurance" and "Changes in the Data Collection Process for detailed discussion of these issues.) For 1997 forward, however, the data collection process and definition of private insurance remained largely the same (and consistently excluded single service plans).


HIPSELFR is largely comparable over time. As noted in the variable description, change in the number of insurance plans considered has minimal effect on the results, given the rarity of people with more than two private insurance plans.

As new insurance programs became available, slight changes were made to the response categories for who paid for insurance 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 "government program."


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


  • 1997-2018