Health insurance is simply too expensive for many Americans, but going without coverage can be dangerous and even catastrophic for you and your family's health and pocket book. Without regular care, you could miss the early detection of conditions that can be prevented or kept from getting worse. And even one accident or illness can wipe out a family's savings in a matter of weeks.
The good news is that several national programs can help. See the list below for more information.
State Health Insurance Program (SHIP)
The State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) provides free unbiased health insurance information for seniors and pre-retirees. SHIP is part of a federal network of State Health Insurance Assistance Programs located in every state.
Community Health Center Locator
Find community health centers, migrant health centers, public housing primary care projects and other sources of health care funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Eye Care America
EyeCare America (ECA) offers nationwide eye care programs for seniors and sufferers of diabetes and glaucoma. More than 7,500 ophthalmologists volunteer to see ECA patients. Helplines operate 24-hours a day, seven days a week.
Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Information Center
The HRSA information center provides publications, resources and referrals on health care services for low-income, uninsured individuals and those with special health care needs via a comprehensive website or a toll-free number: 1-888-Ask-HRSA.
Hill-Burton Free and Reduced Cost Care at Hospitals
About 200 health care facilities, nursing homes and other facilities nationwide are required to provide a specific amount of free or below cost health care to people unable to pay. Eligibility is based on the size of your family and your income. You apply for Hill-Burton care at the facility where you were or will be treated.
Insure Kids Now!
This national campaign links the nation's 10 million uninsured children to free or low-cost health insurance. The campaign puts families in direct contact with state children's health insurance programs through this website, the toll-free hotline 1-877-KIDS-NOW, and other outreach.
Medicaid is a program that funds medical assistance for certain individuals and families with low incomes and resources. Medicaid is the largest source of funding for medical and health-related services for people with limited income.
Medicare: Extra Help for People With Limited Income
The Social Security Administration and the HHS Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) work together to provide persons with limited income and resources extra help paying for their prescription drugs.
Medlineplus Health Information
Medlineplus offers a detailed listing of directories, online physician locators, blood bank locators, assisted living or residential care facility locators, hospital directories and more.
Mental Health Services Locator
Find treatment facilities and support services, advocacy organizations, state agencies, programs funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and more.
The National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program
Administered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), this program helps low-income, uninsured and underserved women gain access to lifesaving screening programs for early detection of breast and cervical cancers. This site can help you locate free or low-cost mammogram and Pap tests from your local breast and cervical cancer program.
National HIV Testing Resources
This site offers information related to HIV testing that includes a national database of HIV testing sites, resources for people who test positive for HIV, and basic information about HIV and AIDS.
Pregnancy Care for the Disadvantaged
These programs offer medical care, support and advice for pregnant women, information about health insurance and other services you and your baby may need.
Prescription Drug Assistance
Many pharmaceutical companies have drug assistance programs for those with low incomes who are taking their brand-name drugs. You'll need to qualify for these programs based on income, but for those who do take brand-name drugs and are struggling to cover those costs, this could be a great option.
State and Local Health Departments
This site offers a detailed list of state public health agencies with additional links to local public health services.
Substance Abuse Treatment Facility Locator
This searchable directory of drug and alcohol treatment programs shows the location of facilities around the country that treat alcoholism, alcohol abuse and drug abuse problems.