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Covered by Medicaid last year

Codes and Frequencies

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HIMCAIDLY indicates whether the respondent was covered by Medicaid during the previous calendar year. The data in HIMCAID were edited by the Census Bureau and assign Medicaid coverage to some persons who did not report such health insurance during questioning. For general discussion of Medicaid funding and eligibility, see CAIDLY.

For 1980-1987, information on health insurance coverage was collected only for persons age 15 and above. The CPS interviewer asked, "At any time during [the previous year], was anyone in this household covered by Medicaid, the public assistance program that pays for health care? Who was that?" The Census Bureau edited the data to allot coverage (a "yes" response in HIMCAIDLY) to some children, as well as to some categories of adults who did not provide an affirmative response to the Medicaid question. All children under age 21 in families were assumed to be covered by Medicaid if either the householder or spouse reported being covered by Medicaid. All adult AFDC recipients and their children, and SSI recipients living in states which legally required Medicaid coverage for persons receiving Supplemental Security Income, were also coded as "yes" in HIMCAIDLY.

Beginning in 1988, the question wording remained the same, but CPS interviewers directly collected information on Medicaid coverage for all household members, of all ages. With the introduction of computer-assisted interviewing technology (CATI) in 1994, the interviewer also asked about Medicaid coverage by referring to the state-specific names of Medicaid programs in the state where the household was located.

After 1987, the Census Bureau continued to edit the data in HIMCAIDLY, assigning Medicaid coverage to some persons who did not mention Medicaid during questioning. For example, in 1996 and 1997, HIMCAIDLY was coded as "Yes" if the individual reported coverage from Indian Health Service, or reported having "other government health care" or "other insurance" in a final, follow-up question about health insurance not previously acknowledged.


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 Census Bureau warns that the health insurance data for 1980-1987 may not be comparable to that for 1988 and later years, due to the shift from collecting health insurance information for adults only, to collecting insurance information on all household members. The editing carried out by the Census Bureau, assigning coverage to likely recipients of Medicaid (as discussed above) makes this particular discontinuity less of a problem for HIMCAIDLY than for some other insurance-related variables. The naming of state-specific Medicaid programs by interviewers using the CATI interview format beginning in 1994 may have changed the number of positive responses to the Medicaid question. As noted above, the Census Bureau edits that added additional cases to HIMCAIDLY were not entirely consistent over time. For example, the follow-up question about "other insurance" was only added to the questionnaire beginning in 1996, and several responses to this follow-up question resulted in a positive code in HIMCAIDLY.

The CAIDLY variable introduced in 1996 overlaps with HIMCAIDLY. Like HIMCAIDLY, CAIDLY reports Medicaid coverage during the previous calendar year; unlike HIMCAIDLY, the data for CAID in the original public use files were not edited to add additional cases of probable Medicaid coverage. Through 2018 in IPUMS CPS, additional cases were added to CAIDLY if respondents specifically reported Medicaid coverage in response to follow-up questions about "other" health insurance and a verification question (see VERIFY) about whether a household member was, indeed, without any health insurance coverage during the previous calendar year. The number of persons coded as having Medicaid coverage is less in CAIDLY than in HIMCAIDLY, because an individual had to specifically mention Medicaid to receive a "Yes" value in CAIDLY.

Beginning with the March 2001 survey, households with children who did not report Medicaid coverage were questioned about receiving insurance through the State Children's Health Care Program (see SCHIPLY). In some states, SCHIP insurance coverage is administered through an expansion of Medicaid programs; in others, SCHIP coverage is administered through separate programs. Prior to 1997, in its published tabulations, the Census Bureau counted persons whose only insurance was through the Indian Health Service (see INHCOVLY) as part of population receiving Medicaid. Beginning in 1997, the Census Bureau's published tables treated those with health care only through the Indian Health Service as part of the uninsured population, not as Medicaid recipients.

Beginning in 2019, infants in the household who were born after the calendar year (i.e. born in January-March of the current year), are separated from other household members who did not have Medicaid coverage during the previous year and are coded as NIU in IPUMS CPS. Prior to this change, infants born after the calendar year, and who could not have had Medicaid coverage during the previous year were coded as "No."


  • 1980-2018 ASEC: All persons.
  • 2019-2023 ASEC: Persons born before the calendar year.


Years Jan Feb ASEC Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
1980 – 2023 - - X - - - - - - - - -


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