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Covered by Medicare last year

Codes and Frequencies

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HIMCARELY indicates whether the respondent was covered by Medicare during the previous calendar year. The data in HIMCARELY were edited by the Census Bureau and assign Medicare coverage to some persons who did not report such health insurance during questioning.

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 Medicare, the health insurance for persons 65 years old and over or persons with disabilities?" The Census Bureau edited the data to allot coverage (a "Yes" response in HIMCARELY) to all persons age 65 and older who reported income from Social Security. After 1988, the universe for Medicare recipients was still treated as persons age 15 and older, even though the survey generally focused on insurance coverage for all age groups.

Beginning in 1988, the question wording remained the same, but CPS interviewers directly collected information on insurance coverage for all household members, of all ages. Because the universe for Medicare coverage was treated as persons age 15 and older, this basic change in the phrasing of insurance-related questions had less effect on HIMCARELY than on other insurance-related variables.


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.

As noted above, HIMCARELY was less affected than were other variables when the CPS began collecting information on insurance for all age groups, rather than adults only, beginning in 1988.

User Note: In the IPUMS version of this variable, we have restricted the universe to those 15 years of age or over. Researchers will need to similarly restrict the Census Bureau's CPS data in order to replicate results.

In the CARELY variable, IPUMS CPS incorporates recodes identical to those that the Census Bureau used in HIMCARELY for 1996 forward, so only CARELY appears in IPUMS CPS for that period. Specifically, persons age 15 and older are coded as "Yes" if the respondent acknowledged Medicare coverage in response to any of the following: a question about Medicare, a follow-up question about "other" health insurance, or following a verification question (see VERIFY) about whether this person was, indeed, without health insurance during the previous calendar year.


  • Persons age 15+.


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


This variable has no flags.