Affordability variables in 2019, 2020 NHIS

I noticed that the ‘YBAR’ suit of variables capturing ‘needed but couldn’t afford xx care’ is available for prescription drugs for NHIS 2019 and 2020, but not for medical, dental or vision care. Are these variables being processed or they will not be available for 2019 and 2020?

The NHIS questionnaire underwent a major redesign in 2019 and the questions that correspond to these variables were asked slightly differently. Previously the survey asked about all types of foregone care in a single section (e.g., did you/person need any of the following but not get it because you couldn’t afford it…mental health care or counseling/dental care/etc.). These questions are now included as part of a section focused on the type of care rather than a section about foregone care (e.g., “Did you take any prescription medications?” is eventually followed by questions about foregoing medication because of cost). I was able to find the variables reporting forgone care because of cost for medical care (NOTCARCOST) and dental care (UNMTNDDT) in 2019-2020 under different variable names (i.e., not part of the YBAR* grouping). Questions about vision care foregone because of cost are not included in the original data file in these years.