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Covered by Indian Health Service last year

Codes and Frequencies

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INHCOVLY identifies persons who had health insurance coverage through the Indian Health Service during the previous year. The Indian Health Service provides medical assistance to eligible American Indians at IHS facilities and helps pay the cost of selected health care services from other facilities. Information on health insurance from the Indian Health Service was collected through an initial question asking about health insurance from several government programs and a follow-up question about the name of the insurance plan for those who reported such coverage.

Through programming in IPUMS CPS, other cases were added to the pool of positive responses for INHCOVLY in 1996-2018. If the respondent mentioned coverage from the Indian Health Service when answering a catchall summary question on "other" health insurance plans--after hearing questions about many specific types of insurance--then that person was given a positive response for INHCOVLY in IPUMS CPS.

In its published tabulations on insurance coverage, based on CPS data, the Census Bureau initially grouped coverage from the Indian Health Service with Medicaid coverage. Based on the advice of health care experts, beginning in 1997, the Census Bureau counted people with no coverage other than access to the Indian Health Service as part of the uninsured population.


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, 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 Indian Health Service 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 Indian Health Service coverage during the previous year were coded as "No."

Beginning with the ASEC 2001 survey, the CPS added a verification question (see VERIFY for more information) 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 coverage through the Indian Health Service in response to this question were added, through programming, to the pool of positive responses for the INHCOVLY variable. For consistency in results before and after the ASEC 2001 survey, researchers should exclude cases of Indian Health Service coverage that were only identified via the verification question (i.e., exclude cases coded as "Yes" (2) in VERIFY when analyzing the INHCOVLY data).

For 1996 and 1997 only, persons who reported being covered by the Indian Health Service (or other, not elsewhere classified government coverage) during the previous week, are identified in IHSLW.

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


  • 1996-2018 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
1996 – 2023 - - X - - - - - - - - -



Unharmonized Variables