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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.

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:

  • Routine checkups
  • Immunizations
  • Hospital care
  • Dental care
  • Lab and X-ray services

Learn about the CHIP programs in your state.

Hospitals and Health Centers: Lower-Cost and Free Care

The Health Resources and Services Administration helps health centers, hospitals, and other centers 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 pay what you can afford. 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.

Medicaid Expansion

In 2014, some states will expand Medicaid so more people can use it. To get the details, see At-a-Glance: Medicaid Expansion.

Medicare Financial Aid

If you use Medicare to help pay for your health care, you may be able to get some financial aid. This includes Medicare Savings Programs, Part D extra help for prescription drugs, and Medicaid.  

Prescription Drug Assistance Programs

Patient assistance programs are set up by drug companies to help uninsured people get free or low-cost medicines. These programs cover many brand-name medications.

On their web site, Rxassist.org, you can look up the name of your medicine to see if you are eligible and to apply to the program. The site also has discount coupons for some medicines.

Vaccines for Children (VFC)

If you can't afford vaccines for your child, the VFC program may help. Your child may be eligible if she is younger than 19 and is any of the following:

  • Eligible for Medicaid
  • Uninsured
  • Underinsured (you have health insurance, but it covers none or just some of the cost of vaccines)
  • American Indian or Alaska Native

Ask your child's doctor if he or she is a VFC provider. If not, you can find a qualified health center or health clinic through your VFC coordinator.

Financial Help for Certain Conditions or Groups

You can find links to other low-cost programs on Healthfinder.gov. There are programs for:

  • Cancer
  • Chronic illnesses
  • Dental care
  • Disabled veterans
  • Eye care
  • Specific diseases
  • The homeless

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