Skip to content

    Health Care Reform:

    Health Insurance & Affordable Care Act

    Where to Get Lower-Cost and Free Health Services

    If you need help paying for health insurance for yourself or your family, low-cost or free programs may help. Whether you are eligible can depend on:

    • Your income
    • Age
    • Location
    • Whether you have insurance
    • What kind of insurance you have
    • Other factors

    Below are a few options. It may take some searching, but you can probably find a program to meet your needs.


    Your first stop to find out more about your options in getting help to pay for your health care should be your state Marketplace. Every state has a Marketplace. Find yours by going to On the Marketplace, you can find out if you qualify for a tax subsidy to pay for a private insurance plan and cost-sharing subsidies to help you pay for things such as copayments when you go to the doctor. In addition, you can find out if you qualify for Medicaid or CHIP.


    Medicaid is a low-cost or even free program for those who qualify. Medicaid provides comprehensive health care, including prescription drugs. States have different rules on who qualifies for Medicaid. The Affordable Care Act provided additional federal funding for states that expanded their Medicaid program to include all people up to 138% of the federal poverty level ($16,242 for individuals or $33,465 for a family of four). As of 2016, 32 states and the District of Columbia have expanded Medicaid. Even if you didn't qualify for Medicaid in the past, you may now.

    CHIP: Insurance for Kids

    If you have children, they may be eligible for free or low-cost health insurance through your state's Children’s Health Insurance Program, known as CHIP. Each state decides the income limits and what benefits to offer. However, all states cover:

    Hospitals and Health Centers: Lower-Cost and Free Care

    The Health Resources and Services Administration helps community health centers, hospitals, and other clinics offer care to low-income people who can't afford it.

    Even if you don’t have insurance, you can get low-cost or free health and dental care at certain health care centers in your area. If you don't have insurance, you may be able to work out a payment plan. You can find a list of federally funded health centers here.

    You can also receive care at a Hill-Burton Free and Reduced-Cost facility. These are hospitals, nursing homes, and other facilities that provide care for people who can't afford it. You can't just walk in and receive free care. You have to apply:

    • Locate a Hill-Burton facility in your area.
    • Go to the facility's admissions office and say you want to apply for Hill-Burton Free and Reduced-Cost care.
    • You may need to show a check stub to prove your income.
    • You'll have to fill out an application and other paperwork.
    • Ask what health services are covered.
    • Ask when you'll find out whether you're eligible.

    Today on WebMD

    stethoscope on person's chest
    Your Marketplace choices,
    How not to waste money on health care.
    man in cafe looking at computer
    Finding low-cost health insurance.
    doctor showing girl a stethoscope
    Get the facts on health insurance.

    Latest Health Reform News

    Loading …
    URAC: Accredited Health Web Site TRUSTe online privacy certification HONcode Seal AdChoices