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Needed medical care/surgery but did not get it, past 12 months

Codes and Frequencies

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NOTCARE indicates whether, at any time during the past 12 months, the person needed medical care or surgery but did not get it. Interviewers introduced the question with the words, "Sometimes people have difficulties in getting medical care when they need it."

The Field Representative's Manual instructed interviewers to accept any reason respondents gave (e.g., "missed bus" or "too busy") as a valid response for being unable to get service.

Variables indicating specific types of medical care that the person needed but did not receive during the past 12 months include: NOTADULTDAY (for adult day care); NOTASSTLIVE (for assisted living); NOTDENTAL (for dental services); NOTGLASS (for eyeglasses); NOTHOMCARE (for home health care); NOTHOSPICE (for hospice care); NOTMEDS (for prescription medications); NOTMENTAL (for mental health services); and NOTNURSHOME (for nursing home care).


Apart from the change in universe, this variable is completely comparable over time.

Available for 1997 forward, YBARCARE, which identifies persons who needed medical care but did not get it because they could not afford it during the past 12 months, covers some of the same ground as NOTCARE. However, the question wording for YBARCARE refers specifically to financial barriers to attaining medical care. The question wording for NOTCARE is more inclusive; as noted above, non-financial reasons such as being "too busy" were also accepted as barriers to attaining medical care or surgery with this variable.


  • 1987: Sample persons age 18+ who needed medical care or advice in the past 12 months.
  • 1993: All persons in quarters 3 and 4.
  • 1994-1996: All persons.


  • 1987, 1993-1996