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Covered by private health insurance, last year

Codes and Frequencies

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COVERPI is a recoded variable created by the Census Bureau to identify persons covered by a "private" (i.e., employment-based or privately-purchased, not government) insurance plan during the previous calendar year. Persons, who were themselves policyholders of private insurance policies, as well as dependents covered by such policies, are coded "Yes" in COVERPI, via the Bureau's allocation program.

COVERPI combines information from several sources. PHIOWN identifies policyholders of private (nongovernmental) insurance policies. PHISPOUS indicates whether the policyholder's spouse was covered by private insurance; PHIHHKID indicates whether the policyholder's co-resident children were covered by private insurance; and PHIOTHR indicates whether other household members were covered by the policyholder's private insurance. Respondents with health insurance provided by the policy of someone living outside the household (which the Bureau treats as private health insurance) are identified via the OUT variable (for 1996 forward).

COVERPI provides more complete reporting of private health insurance coverage than PHINSUR does. The latter variable codes responses to direct questions about whether anyone in the household was covered by private health insurance during the preceding calendar year. The term "covered by private insurance" in the direct question is ambiguous; coverage might mean either being a private insurance policyholder or having coverage as a dependent via someone else's private insurance policy. Because some respondents interpreted the question in the former, narrower sense, the identification of persons covered by private insurance (either as policyholders or as dependents) via the Bureau's allocation program is more complete.


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.

The comparability of this variable over time is affected by changes in CPS methodology. As noted above, information on whether individuals had health insurance coverage from someone outside the household was only collected for 1996 forward. Other factors affecting the accuracy and completeness of identified private health insurance coverage include the addition of a follow-up question about "other" insurance beginning in 1996 and a final question added in 2001 to verify whether the respondent had any health coverage during the preceding calendar year (see VERIFY).

COVERGH, which is also a recoded variable based on allocation by the Census Bureau, identifies persons covered by employment-based private health insurance during the preceding calendar year.


  • All persons.


Years Jan Feb ASEC Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
1988 – 2018 - - X - - - - - - - - -


This variable has no flags.

Unharmonized Variables