The Characteristics of Persons Reporting State Children's Health Insurance Program Coverage in the March 2001 CPS

August 2002

Charles T. Nelson and Robert J. Mills


In March 2001, new questions were added to the Current Population Survey (CPS) battery of health insurance questions. The questions dealt specifically with coverage through the State Children=s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). Prior to March 2002, this coverage was reported, along with other types of coverage, in a question on Aother@ types of health insurance coverage. The Census Bureau's estimates of health insurance coverage from the March 2001 CPS, released last September, included coverage reported in response to these questions, and the edited variables based on these questions included on the CPS microdata file also released last September. However, because of the confusion many respondents have about their source of public health insurance coverage, and because the questions were not asked of all households in the CPS with children, it is not clear whether the variables on the CPS public use file are reliable as SCHIP coverage indicators. The purpose of this paper is to examine the characteristics of persons who reported SCHIP coverage in the March 2001 CPS, and to compare the CPS estimates of SCHIP coverage with administrative figures, in order to evaluate the reliability of the CPS variables as SCHIP coverage indicators.