Codes and Frequencies
For sample children and sample adults, YBARCARE indicates whether, at any time during the past 12 months, individuals needed medical care but did not get it because they could not afford it. Respondents were told not to include dental care when answering this question. Please see the Universe tab for changes to the universe over time.
For 1997 forward, the survey also collected information about whether, at any time during the past twelve months, sample adults and sample children needed but did not get specific types of medical care because they could not afford it. The specific types of medical care foregone for financial reasons that the survey identified were mental health care or counseling (YBARMENTAL), prescription medicines (YBARMEDS), eyeglasses (YBARGLASS), dental care, including check-ups (YBARDENTAL), follow-up care (YBARFOLLOW), and specialist care (YBARSPECL).
Changes in survey design (e.g., quarters in which the supplement was collected) may affect raw frequencies, but do not affect comparability of the variable. As always, data users should use the prescribed IPUMS NHIS weights.
Available for 1993-1996, NOTCARE, which identifies persons who needed medical care or surgery but could not get it at some time during the past 12 months, covers some of the same ground as YBARCARE. However, the question wording for YBARCARE refers specifically to financial barriers to attaining medical care. The question wording for NOTCARE is more inclusive; non-financial reasons such as being "too busy" were also accepted as barriers to attaining medical care or surgery with this variable.
Additionally, there were slight changes in the questionnaire text over time. In 1987, sample persons aged 18 and older who needed medical care or advice in the past 12 months but did not get care were asked a follow up question about why they did not get the care they needed. The respondent could indicated one or more of the following reasons: procrastination/put it off, did not have health insurance, care was not available when needed, costs too much, didn't know where to go, didn't know what kind of doctor to see, didn't have a way to get there, hours not convenient, fear of being treated rudely or unkindly, or other. Beginning in 2019, all sample adults were asked "During the past 12 months, was there any time when you needed medical care, but DID NOT GET IT because of the cost?" and sample children were asked "During the past 12 months, was there any time when ^SCNAME needed medical care, but DID NOT GET IT because of the cost?"
Finally, the NHIS questionnaire was substantially redesigned in 2019 to introduce a different data collection structure and new content. For more information on changes in terminology, universes, and data collection methods beginning in 2019, please see the user note.
- 1987: Half of sample persons age 18+ (excluded from CAEP supplement) who needed medical care or advice in the past 12 months and didn't get care.
- 1997-2018: All persons.
- 2019-2022: Sample adults age 18+ and sample children ages 0-17.
- 1987, 1997-2022