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Why coverage stopped: Divorce/separation/death of spouse/parent

Codes and Frequencies

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For persons without health insurance coverage, HISTOP3 indicates if a reason for not having coverage is a divorce, separation, or death of a spouse or parent. 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'. The response categories are consistent for 1998 forward with several differences for 1997. See the comparability time for a more detailed description.

For all years, individuals with single service plans were asked about reasons for no insurance, as single service plans were not considered to be insurance plans.

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


This variable is completely comparable for 1998 forward, but slightly less comparable for 1997, and not comparable with variables before 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.


Although mostly comparable, the survey response categories for 1997 were different. For example, in 1997 the survey included several employment related reasons not available for 1998 forward, such as: employer stopped offering coverage; cut back to part-time/became temp employee; and benefits from employer ran out. For 1998 forward, HISTOP18 (self-employment) and HISTOP8, employer doesn't offer coverage/not eligible and are available.

Users who want to compare HISTOP3 with variables from before 1997 should see the recoded variable HINOFAMR, which indicates any "family-related" reason for insurance, such as death, marriage, or aging out coverage under a family plan.


Prior to 1997, person may have been covered through other public programs or may have somehow misreported their coverage status. For 1997 forward, the NCHS began editing responses regarding insurance coverage status (based on the plan name given by the respondent) to improve accuracy. The variables from before 1997 have not undergone this editing to improve accuracy and are therefore less comparable with those after 1997.


  • 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