The National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) is the nation’s principal health statistics agency, providing data to identify and address health issues. NCHS compiles statistical information to help guide public health and health policy decisions.
Collaborating with other public and private health partners, NCHS uses a variety of data collection mechanisms to obtain accurate information from multiple sources. This process provides a broad perspective on the population’s health, influences on health, and health outcomes.
Health insurance coverage is an important determinant of access to health care and health status. Uninsured children and nonelderly adults are substantially less likely than their insured counterparts to have a usual source of health care or a recent health care visit. The major source of coverage for persons under age 65 is private employer-sponsored group health insurance. The National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) has been collecting comprehensive data on health insurance coverage since 1959. Three estimates of lack of health insurance coverage are provided quarterly: uninsured at the time of interview, uninsured at least part of the year prior to interview, and uninsured for more than a year at the time of interview. Data are also provided on public and private coverage for those currently insured, including data on enrollment through the Health Insurance Marketplace, through state-based exchanges, and in high-deductible health plans.
NHIS collects information on the health of the U.S. civilian noninstitutionalized population through personal household interviews. It measures health status and disability, selected conditions, insurance coverage, access to care, use of health services, immunizations, health behaviors, injury, and the ability to perform daily activities.
Persons not covered by private insurance, Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), public assistance (through 1996), state-sponsored or other government-sponsored
health plans (starting in 1997), Medicare, or military plans are considered to have no health insurance coverage. Persons with only Indian Health Service coverage are considered to have no
health insurance coverage. Health insurance coverage is at the time of interview. The number of persons with no health insurance coverage was calculated by multiplying the percentage with no
coverage by the number of persons under age 65 in the civilian noninstitutionalized U.S. population, which was determined from the poststratification Census control total for each survey year.
Percentages of persons without coverage are calculated with unknown values excluded from denominators.