Free and Low-Cost Health Services
If you can’t afford health insurance, there are numerous other sources of free and discounted health care. Those sources include the government, free clinics, rural and community health clinics, hospitals, federal programs, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Plan, pharmaceutical companies, health organizations like the American Red Cross, and charities. This section will help you find the right options for you.
Government Assistance Programs
To find government assistance programs go to https://www.benefits.gov/benefits/benefit-finder#benefits&qc=cat_1. The online screening tool is free, easy-to-use, and confidential. You do not have to include any personally identifiable information like your name, phone number, or social security number. You will be prompted to input your location and some information about your circumstances. You will answer a series of questions about yourself and get a list of government benefits programs you may be eligible for, along with information about how to apply.
There are many free clinics throughout the United States that will provide services for people who do not have insurance or the income to get care from private practices. You can find a free clinic by searching on the National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics website at www.nafcclinics.org.
Rural Health Clinics
There are more than 3,500 rural health clinics (RHCs) located in rural areas throughout the United States. The purpose of a RHC is to provide primary care services in underserved rural areas. Each clinic typically provides physician services and onsite laboratory testing. However, services vary from clinic to clinic. You need to research the services of the clinic you are going to visit. Most RHCs also have arrangements with hospitals that furnish services not available at the RHC. Patients who visit a RHC may see a physician, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant. Sometimes RHCs offer home visits by a registered professional to the homebound.
You can find a list of clinics near you at http://www.wheretofindcare.com/How-to-Pick-a-Rural-Health-Center.aspx. You can search by zip code, provider name, or other more detailed information. The website also offers quality ratings based on feedback from user surveys taken by people experienced with rural health care.
Community Health Centers
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) provides assistance through federally funded community, migrant, and other health centers. You pay what you can afford based on your income level. Health centers are in most cities and in many rural areas. You can find the one closest to you by going to …