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Medicare coverage, last week


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CARELW identifies persons who had health insurance coverage from Medicare during the previous week. In a prior question about health insurance coverage during the previous year, interviewers defined Medicare as "the health insurance for persons 65 and over or persons with disabilities."

Medicare provides health coverage to almost all Americans aged 65 or older. Disabled persons who received cash benefits for 24 months under the Social Security program and persons suffering from end-stage renal disease also have Medicare coverage. For more information about this government program, or to identify persons who had Medicare insurance coverage during the previous year, see CARE.

CARELW is one of a series of variables relating to current insurance coverage included in the CPS during 1996 and 1997 only. Interviewers first asked whether the individual was covered by any type of health plan during the previous week. If the answer was affirmative, they asked whether current insurance coverage was of the same type as coverage during the previous year, and then collected information on up to five types of health insurance coverage for the previous week.

Persons covered by any insurance (regardless of type) during the previous week are identified in COVERLW. Other variables dealing with health insurance coverage of specific types during the previous week are: CAIDLW (for Medicaid); CHAMPLW (for CHAMPUS and CHAMPVA); GROUPLW (for employment-based group health plans, via one's own plan or as a dependent); IHSLW (for Indian Health Service or other, not otherwise specified, government coverage); MILVALW (for Military Health Care or Veterans Administration health care); PRIPURLW (for privately-purchased, not employment-based health insurance); and OUTOTHLW (for coverage via the plan of someone outside the household, or from some other source).


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.

This variable is comparable across years.


  • All persons.


Years Jan Feb ASEC Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
1996 – 1997 - - X - - - - - - - - -


This variable has no flags.