The federal government funds over 9,300 community health centers that typically provide family planning and primary care services to anyone. These clinics offer sliding-scale payments to patients with incomes up to 200 percent of the federal poverty level, making them more affordable for the uninsured, according to Michelle Andrews for National Public Radio. These centers may also offer dental and mental health care.
Other clinics for the uninsured operate using volunteer staff and depend on donations from private individuals, explains the National Association of Free & Charitable Clinics. As many as 29 million Americans do not have access to health insurance after the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. These clinics provide a safety net for such individuals.
Getting an appointment at a health center often involves a long wait, states Andrews. Once the patient has the appointment, the clinic usually does not provide hospital care or specialists. Some of the doctors working at these centers ask friends and associates for favors so the neediest of patients receive the treatment they need. Planned Parenthood and other women’s health clinics continue providing reproductive care at reduced costs. While these services help fill the gap, they are not a replacement for insurance coverage.