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Any insurance, public or private (summary)

Codes and Frequencies

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HCOVANY is a variable constructed by the State Health Access Data Assistance Center (SHADAC) at the University of Minnesota. It indicates whether respondents had any health insurance coverage during the previous year. It differs in three important ways from an indicator that can be constructed using other health insurance variables available in the CPS:

  • In 2000, the CPS introduced an item (VERIFY) to verify that respondents who claimed no insurance coverage on any of the survey items were in fact uninsured. SHADAC used this information to impute the verification question for 1988-1999 cases; those who likely would have reported some type of insurance coverage had they been asked the verification question have been coded as having health insurance in HCOVANY.
  • In 1998, the Census Bureau, in consultation with the Bureau of Indian Affairs, changed the way that individuals with only Indian Health Services were classified. A question about IHS was introduced in 1996. In 1996 and 1997, those with IHS and no other type of coverage were considered insured. After that time, those same individuals would be considered uninsured. To correct for the break in the time series, those cases having only IHS in 1996 and 1997, and no other type of coverage, are switched to be considered uninsured in HCOVANY.
  • Prior to the 2007 CPS, the Census Bureau changed their editing procedures for assigning private health insurance coverage to non-policy holders. These changes resulted in fewer people being considered uninsured. This edit was fixed with the release of the 2007 CPS. The 2005 and the 2006 surveys were fixed retrospectively and re-released in ASEC 2007. The Census Bureau decided not to retrospectively fix the edit in the years prior to 2005. They did, however, release an indicator variable that approximates the edit in earlier years. These fixes are reflected in the summary health insurance variables as well as the estimates that the Census produces from the CPS.

Analyses of HCOVANY must use the weight variable HINSWT.

A schematic diagram of the summary health insurance variables follows:

Public or Private
Type of Insurance
SHADAC Enhanced Variable
Covered by any type (HCOVANY)
Private (HCOVPRIV) (1) Employer-sponsored HINSEMP
(2) Individually purchased HINSPUR
(Covered by someone outside the home) (unavailable in summary variables)
Public (HCOVPUB) (3) Any Medicaid/SCHIP/other public insurance HINSCAID
(4) Medicare HINSCARE
(5) Military HINSMIL


This variable is available for the 1988-onward period and is completely comparable across all years.

Comparability with IPUMS-USA

There are many methodological differences between the measurement of health insurance coverage in the CPS and the American Community Survey; but conceptually, HCOVANY is comparable to the IPUMS-USA variable HCOVANY. For more information, see SHADAC Issue Brief No. 18.


  • All persons.


Years Jan Feb ASEC Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
1988 – 2013 - - X - - - - - - - - -


This variable has no flags.

Unharmonized Variables

No variables available