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Why coverage stopped: Insurance company refused coverage

Codes and Frequencies

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For persons without health insurance coverage, and, in 1997, persons without health insurance coverage for less than 3 years, HISTOP12 indicates if a reason for not having coverage was because the insurance company refused coverage. Respondents were handed a card listing possible reasons for no insurance and were asked to specify up to five reason(s) or could specify 'other'. For all years, individuals with coverage through single service plans were asked for reasons for no insurance, because single service plans were not considered insurance plans.

For related variables, please use the IPUMS NHIS search function and drop-down menus.

Apart from 1997, response categories listed on the card remained the same. While the response, "Insurance company refused coverage" remained the same for 1997 forward, other categories changed slightly between 1997 and 1998 forward. See the Comparability tab for a discussion of these changes.


This variable is comparable for 1998 forward but changes in the universe and response categories reduce comparability for 1997. For 1997, the universe includes only those without insurance for less than 3 years and the response categories are slightly different from all other years. For example, the survey in 1997 distinguished between whether the individual (HISTOP1) or their parent/spouse lost their job or changed employers (HISTOP2A) as the reason for no insurance. For 1998 forward, HISTOP1 is available, and only one other employment related variable is available (HISTOP8): employer doesn't offer coverage/not eligible).

This variable is not directly comparable with variables from before 1997 indicating no insurance coverage, such as HINORPOORH: can't obtain insurance (1976, 1980, 1982-1984, 1986, 1989, 1993-1996). For these years, persons may have had coverage through Medicare or Medicaid (1976, 1980), through military coverage (1982-1989), or through some other health plan (1993 to 1996). This is because questions on coverage through these other types of programs appeared later in the survey.

In addition, from 1997 forward, editing by NCHS ensured accuracy in insurance coverage status. Before 1997, respondents may have mistakenly reported what kind of insurance they had, but the NCHS did not edit these responses.

Users who wish to compare this variable with surveys from before 1997 may want to review the variable description for the recoded variable HINOREFUSER, which removes individuals covered by public programs to improve comparability over time.


  • 1997: Persons without health insurance coverage for less than 3 years.
  • 1998-1999: Persons without health insurance coverage or for whom it is unknown whether they were without health insurance.
  • 2000-2018: Persons without health insurance coverage or whose only health insurance coverage is a single service plan.


  • 1997-2018