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Any public insurance (summary)

Codes and Frequencies

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HCOVPUB is a variable constructed by the State Health Access Data Assistance Center (SHADAC) at the University of Minnesota. It indicates whether respondents were covered by any public insurance during the previous year (SCHIP, Medicaid, Medicare, military insurance, or another state-sponsored program). The Indian Health Service (INHCOVLY) is not considered a public program because it is not comprehensive insurance coverage.

Analyses of HCOVPUB 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 generally comparable across all years.

In 2001, 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 1988-2000 cases; those who likely would have reported some type of public insurance coverage had they been asked the verification question have been coded as having public insurance in HCOVPUB.

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.

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, HCOVPUB is comparable to the IPUMS-USA variable HCOVPUB. For more information, see SHADAC Issue Brief No. 18. The exception is that most military insurance is classified as private coverage in the ACS; see HINSMIL for details.


  • 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

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