Bad or No Insurance: Get Free or Low-Cost Healthcare, Prescriptions, and Medical Equipment

save-money-with-no-health-insurance

Most of our articles are geared to those who are insured, but we wanted to share some money saving tips for those who may not have insurance.

We’ve compiled an unconventional list of options for those who are uninsured and/or on a tight budget. There are tons of resources and groups that offer support, so please let us know if you’ve come across anything else worth sharing!

Note: This article is about accessing care with no insurance. Keep your eyes open for a blog post about options for enrolling in insurance if you’ve lost a job or your situation has changed.

Primary Care

  • Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC): Provide primary and mental health care on a sliding scale, meaning you may not have to pay at all. Some may also provide dental care.

  • Local Health Departments: Offer care on a sliding scale based on your annual income. Health departments usually offer basic primary care, including vaccines, mental health, STD testing, and general check-ups. Find yours here.

  • Vaccines for Children: Many children qualify for free vaccines. Check out the criteria here.

  • Title X Recipients: Provide education, birth control, STD testing and treatment, HIV testing, GYN care, and other reproductive health services at a discounted rate. Check out this list to find a center near you.

  • Free Clinics: There are clinics that offer free healthcare around the country. Check out this website to find the closest free clinic to you! If you are in NC, check out this clinic locator!

Mental Health

  • Schools: Often offer free mental health services. Contact your student guidance counselor or teacher to learn more.

  • APSA: Offers low-cost clinics and referrals with reduced fee options for individuals with limited financial means.

  • Mentalhealth.gov: Offers immediate help, a national suicide prevention line, a veteran’s crisis line, and other resources.

  • FQHC (see in above section): In addition to providing primary care, they also provide mental health services.

  • National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI): Text NAMI to 741741 for resources, a helpline, and guidance for low-cost care.

Dental Care

  • Dental Schools: The same way you may get a cheap haircut at an Aveda salon training school (pro tip for inexpensive haircuts), you can also go to a dental school to get inexpensive dental care provided by students. If you are just looking for a routine cleaning, check out dental hygiene schools.

Prescriptions

  • GoodRx: Provides drug price comparisons and offers coupons for less expensive prescriptions.

  • Medicine Assistant Tool Partnership for Prescription Assistance: This is a search engine that helps, “patients, caregivers and health care providers learn more about the resources available through the various biopharmaceutical industry programs.” It can help you find more information on prescriptions and pricing.

  • Grocery Store Generic Programs: Several grocery store pharmacies offer some generic drugs FREE or at a very low cost (often less than $5 for a 30 day supply). Some of the stores offering these programs are:

Eye Care

  • The American Academy of Ophthalmology: Offer a program for seniors and the uninsured who are in of need a glaucoma screenings.

  • New Eyes: A nonprofit that purchases new prescription glasses for children and adults. They also maintain a list of groups that offer free eye exams.

Medical Equipment

  • Triumph Foundation: Like a very wholesome version of Craigslist, this is an online exchange where people who need medical equipment are paired with those who are donating unneeded supplies.

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