Free and charitable clinics provide medical, dental and pharmaceutical services for free or at a nominal fee to low-income individuals without health insurance. Some clinics will provide services to individuals who have insurance but cannot find a doctor or cannot afford the deductibles.
Almost all clinics provide primary care, including preventative care and care for chronic diseases like diabetes, hypertension, asthma/COPD and depression. Every clinic is different.
If you are considering receiving care from a free or charitable clinic, please click here for more information about a clinic in your area.
Free and charitable clinics generally accept donations and some request a nominal fee for services. None deny services if a patient cannot pay a requested fee. When fees are charged, they typically range from $10 – $20 for medical visit and $20 – $60 for routine dental services. For prescriptions provided from either a dispensary or a licensed pharmacy, fees per prescription range from $5 through $20.
Note: Federal Poverty Level (FPL) is the set minimum amount of gross income that a family needs for food, clothing, transportation, shelter and other necessities. In the United States, this level is determined by the Department of Health and Human Services. FPL varies according to family size. The number is adjusted for inflation and reported annually in the form of poverty guidelines. 2015 FPL for a family of 4 is $24,250.
Definitions of Free & Charitable Clinics
Free clinics are volunteer-based, safety-net health care organizations that provide a range of medical, dental, pharmacy, and/or behavioral health services at no cost to economically disadvantaged individuals who are predominately uninsured.
Free clinics are 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations, or operate as a program component or affiliate of a 501(c)(3) organization.
Entities that otherwise meet the above definition, but charge a nominal fee to patients, may still be considered free clinics provided essential services are delivered regardless of the patient’s ability to pay.
- From the National Association of Free Clinics
Charitable clinics are safety-net health care organizations that provide a range of medical, dental, pharmacy and/or behavioral health services to economically disadvantaged individuals who are predominantly uninsured or underinsured, or who experience financial, geographic, linguistic or cultural barriers accessing medical services.
Charitable clinics are 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations, or operate as a program component or affiliate of a 501(c)(3) organization, and are not federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) or FQHC look-alikes.
Charitable clinics generally charge a nominal fee to patients; however essential services are delivered regardless of the patient’s ability to pay.
- From the Illinois Association of Free and Charitable Clinics