How to Get Free or Low-Cost Healthcare

Take Advantage of Free Health Tests and Medical Exams.  Organizations like The American Cancer Society and numerous health clinics located throughout the United States offer free or low cost medical exams and tests.  Call around and find out where you can get free and low cost medical services.  Many hospitals, in an attempt to lower costs by keeping the uninsured out of their emergency rooms, are glad to help the uninsured find alternative medical care.  Just call your local hospital to find out where you can go or visit The National Association of Free & Charitable Clinics website to search for a clinic near you.  You can also search for “health fairs” and “health screenings” in your area at Zvents.com. 

You can find free health screenings at malls, drugstores, county fairs, etc.
In addition, many foundations provide help for those with specific diseases, such as kidney disease or lung disease.  For example, google the American Kidney Fund or Heart Support of America or Vision USA to find out what free or low-cost medical assistance they can help you with.

Medical Tourism.  Some Americans and some American companies are seeking bargain medical treatment overseas.  The quality of care at many overseas medical clinics and hospitals is the same or better than it is in the USA, and some of the doctors were trained in North American and European medical schools.  Medical treatments are significantly cheaper than in the USA.  For example, as of November 2013, knee replacement surgery in the US costs about $40,000, but only costs around $9,000 in Singapore, Costa Rica, Panama or India.  Heart surgery in the US costs about $100,000, but only about $10,000 in India and Thailand, $16,000 in Singapore and about $24,000 in Costa Rica.  The savings are so big that more and more American companies, in a desperate attempt to lower health care costs, are sending their employees overseas for healthcare. 

If you’re interested in getting treatment out of the country, watch out for healthcare advocates or facilitators who will help you through the process, including picking you up at the airport.  Some of these facilitators will charge 25% of the cost of the medical treatment to assist you and some of them could be scammers.

Federally Funded Health Centers.  There are some health centers that provide both medical and dental services based on one’s ability to pay.  Find out if there is one near you at findahealthcenter.hrsa.gov.

Join a Clinical Trial.  At clinicaltrials.gov you can find out about clinical trials you may want to participate in in order to get free medical care and access to experimental treatments that aren’t available to the general public yet.

Free or Low Cost Dental Care.  Some dentists and dental schools offer low cost dental care.  Find out if you qualify for free or low cost dental care at the NIDCR website at nidcr.nih.gov or visit adea.org to find a dental school near you.  The National Foundation of Dentistry for the Handicapped assists the elderly and disabled.  Find out if you qualify at their website nfdh.org.  Even if you don’t qualify for free or low cost dental care, shop around and do some fee comparisons among dentists since the cost for dental services can vary widely in one community, by as much as 400 percent.

Free eye care and free glasses.  See "Ways to Save Money on Eyeglasses".
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Negotiate medical bills.  If you don’t have insurance and are willing to pay in cash up front, find out if a doctor will give you a much better price for medical services performed.  You might be able to save a significant amount of money, usually 50 percent or more if you will pay the bill in full immediately. It is very important that you visit HealthcareBlueBook.com before obtaining any medical service whatsoever.  This website will tell you what you should pay for any medical service.

More ways to save money on health care