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Health insurance eligibility unit identifier


For all persons, HIEU reports the person’s MEPS-constructed Health Insurance Eligibility Unit (HIEU) identifier. HIEUs are sub-family relationship units constructed by MEPS to include adults plus any family members who would typically be eligible for coverage under the adults' private health insurance family plans. This variable uses the CPS family identification variable, CPSFAMID, to identify family units as of the end of the calendar year. HIEUs are comprised of adults, their spouses, and their unmarried natural/adoptive children age 18 and under (age 24 and under if the children are full-time students).

HIEUs for Unmarried Children Not Living with Biological/Adoptive Parents 

Children who do not live with their biological/adoptive parents are placed in different HIEUs, as follows:

  • Foster children always comprise a separate HIEU.
  • Unmarried children are placed in a stepparent HIEU, grandparent HIEU, great-grandparent HIEU, or aunt/uncle HIEU.
  • Children of unmarried minors are placed (along with their minor parents) in the HIEUIDX of their adult grandparents (if possible).
  • Married minors are placed into separate HIEUs along with any spouses and children they might have.
  • If there is no adult family member present in the CPSFAMID, an HIEU will be headed by an unmarried minor (such as in foster children HIEUs).

Due to the increased width of DUID, HIEU expands from a 7-character to a 9-character string variable in 2018.


This variable is completely comparable over time.


  • 1999-2021: All persons.


  • 1999-2021



This variable has no flags.