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Policyholder for direct-purchase insurance, previous year

Codes and Frequencies

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DPOWNLY indicates whether, during the previous calendar year, the respondent was the policyholder for health insurance that was purchased directly and that was not related to current or past employment. The interviewer asked whether, at any time during the previous calendar year, anyone in the household was covered by direct-purchased private health insurance. Follow-up questions identified the policyholder(s) and other persons covered by such insurance, including persons living outside the household.

Through programming in IPUMS CPS, other cases were added to the pool of positive responses for DPOWNLY. Such additions were made when the respondent mentioned being the policyholder for such insurance, when answering a catchall summary question on "other" health insurance plans, following questions about many specific types of insurance coverage.

Persons who had direct-purchased private insurance coverage as dependents of a policyholder are identified in the DPDEPLY variable. Up to two household members who were policyholders for direct-purchased private health insurance are identified in the DPWHO1 and DPWHO2 variables. DPTYPLY indicates whether the policyholder's direct-purchased private health insurance covered the respondent only or also covered family members, and DPOUTLY reports whether the policyholder's coverage extended to persons outside the household.


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, only persons who reported being covered by directly-purchased insurance during the previous year are asked whether they were the policy holder for that coverage.

Beginning with the ASEC 2001 survey, 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 IPUMS CPS, for the ASEC 2001 survey onward, persons who reported that they were policyholders for direct-purchased private insurance in response to this question were added, through programming, to the pool of positive responses for the DPOWNLY variable. For consistency in results before and after the ASEC 2001 survey, researchers should exclude cases of DPOWNLY coverage only identified via the verification question (i.e., exclude cases coded as "Yes" (2) in VERIFY when analyzing the DPOWNLY data).

This variable is comparable for the period from 1996 through 2000.


  • 1996-2018 ASEC: Persons 15+.
  • 2019-2023 ASEC: Persons covered by direct-purchase private insurance last year.


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



Unharmonized Variables