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Has Blue plan surgical coverage

Codes and Frequencies

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For persons who have a health insurance plan that pays for any part of doctor or surgeon's bill, SURGBLUE is a recoded variable that the person had surgical coverage through Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BCBS).

Please refer to the Universe tab for more information on changes in the universe across samples. In 1970, interviewers were instructed to exclude persons with Medicare or plans that pay only for accidents. In 1974 and 1976, it is not clear if the universe included only persons with private insurance or if it included persons with Medicare coverage, since BCBS largely administered the Medicare program.

BCBS is a health maintenance organization (HMO), which are managed care companies that cover hospital and physician services on a pre-paid basis. Enrollees must select from a list of physicians who have a contract with the HMO. Blue Cross plans were for pre-paid hospital care, while Blue Shield plans were for pre-paid physician services.

Other types of group or health maintenance organization coverage were also available, but "Blue" plans may have been chosen for specific mention since they were one of the largest providers and were chosen by Congress in 1965 to administer the Medicare program.

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

The definition, order and wording of health insurance changed over time to reflect changes in the availability of different types of coverage and issues of interest. Users are encouraged to review the user note Insurance Data Collection .


Changes in the universe may limit comparability. As always, users are encouraged to use appropriate weight for their analyses.


  • 1970: Persons in quarters 1 and 4 who have a health insurance plan that pays for any part of hospital bill, not counting Medicare or plans that pay only for accidents
  • 1974, 1976: All persons who have an insurance plan which pays any part of a hospital bill or any part of the doctor's or surgeon's bill.


  • 1970, 1974, 1976