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Covered by Medicaid last year

Codes and Frequencies

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CAIDLY identifies persons who reported Medicaid coverage during the previous calendar year. Interviewers defined Medicaid as "the government assistance that pays for health care," and they mentioned both federal Medicaid programs and the Medicaid programs specific to the state where the household was located when collecting this information.

Medicaid pays for medical assistance to low-income families with dependent children and to aged, blind, or permanently and totally disabled individuals with incomes insufficient to meet the costs of medical services. The program became law in 1965. Medicaid is administered by state agencies and is jointly funded by the federal, state, and, sometimes, local governments. Eligibility requirements for this means-tested program vary across states. All recipients of Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) and most recipients of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are eligible for Medicaid coverage. In some states, other persons qualify, such as needy unemployed persons who have children and who are not receiving cash assistance, and medically needy persons whose income and assets are too low to cover their medical costs. Many Medicaid recipients are inmates of medical institutions, such as low-income elderly persons in nursing homes. Such institutionalized persons are not included in the CPS sample.

Through programming in IPUMS CPS, other cases were added to the pool of positive responses for the CAIDLY variable in the original public use data in 1996-2018. If the respondent mentioned Medicaid coverage when answering a catchall summary question on "other" health insurance plans, after hearing questions about many specific types of insurance coverage (including Medicaid), then that person was given a positive response for CAIDLY in IPUMS CPS.


User Note: For a set of variables that addresses many of the comparability issues in the CPS health insurance measures, see the summary health insurance variables created by the University of Minnesota's State Health Access Data Assistance Center.

Beginning in 2019, infants in the household who were born after the calendar year (i.e. born in January-March of the current year), are separated from other household members who did not have Medicaid coverage during the previous year and are coded as NIU in IPUMS CPS. Prior to this change, infants born after the calendar year, and who could not have had Medicaid coverage during the previous year were coded as "No."

In the 2001-2018 ASEC surveys, the CPS added a verification question (see VERIFY) to ascertain whether respondents who did not acknowledge health insurance coverage of various types in previous questions, actually lacked insurance coverage during the preceding calendar year. Persons who acknowledged health insurance coverage in this verification follow-up question were asked about the types of health insurance coverage they had. In these samples in IPUMS CPS, persons who reported Medicaid coverage in response to this question were added, through programming, to the pool of positive responses for the CAIDLY variable. For consistency in results before and after the ASEC 2001 survey, researchers should exclude cases of Medicaid coverage that were only identified via the verification question (i.e., exclude cases coded as "Yes" (2) in VERIFY when analyzing the CAIDLY data).

Persons who had Medicaid coverage during the previous calendar year are also identified in the HIMCAIDLY variable for 1980 forward. The data in HIMCAIDLY were edited by the Census Bureau and allocate Medicaid coverage to some persons who did not specifically mention Medicaid when they were questioned about their insurance coverage but who qualified for such coverage (e.g., AFDC and SSI recipients and their children). By contrast, only persons who stated that they had Medicaid coverage are coded as "Yes" in CAIDLY.

For 1996 and 1997 only, persons who reported being covered by Medicaid during the previous week are identified in CAIDLW. For 1996 forward, MOCAID reports the number of months of Medicaid coverage during the previous calendar year for persons who reported having Medicaid coverage during that period.


  • 1996-2018: All persons.
  • 2019-2023 ASEC: Persons born before the calendar year.


Years Jan Feb ASEC Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
1996 – 2023 - - X - - - - - - - - -



Unharmonized Variables