Integrated Family Community Services 3370 South Irving Street, Englewood, CO 80110-1816 Ph: 303-789-0501

Affordable Healthcare Resources for the Whole Family

With the massive political changes going on in the United States and the growing cost of insurance, affordable healthcare for the whole family can be difficult to come by. When you have many mouths to feed and no employee-paid health insurance, it can be unsettling — especially in light of recent changes to the Affordable Healthcare Act. Families struggling with their finances may be at a loss for where to turn to.

However, there are options provided by federal grants, hospitals, and local health professionals attempting to address these issues. While resources are limited, some action is being taken. Particularly, these actions greatly benefit young families and single parents, in addition to those without health insurance or who are not on Medicaid.

There are three types of healthcare resources for low-income families: community health centers (CHC), retail clinics, and free clinics. When deciding between the three, be mindful about what you’re looking for in a healthcare provider, as well as what’s available to you locally. Read reviews of doctors, check to see if they accept your financial situation, and examine whether they can meet your needs.

Community Health Centers

CHCs use federal funds and local resourcesto place neighborhood clinics in rural and urban areas. They are historically notable for the way they have empowered these communities locally. Without them, certain kinds of care — especially for new parents — would not be easily available to some low-income households.

The amount that patients pay at CHCs is dependent on their income level. According to HealthCare.gov, some of the services they provide are:

  • Prenatal care
  • Baby shots
  • General primary care
  • Referrals to specialized care (including addiction, mental, and sexual health)

Despite not being hospitals or more institutional medical centers, CHCs are competent in getting patients the care they deserve. They hire pediatric doctors and nurse practitioners who are able to treat young children and offer advice to parents. This helps in alleviating the cost of child injuries. Additionally, they are able to take care of basic adult checkups.

Retail Clinics

Some drug store locations will offer clinical help within their local communities. This can be extremely valuable for families that can’t afford to go to a hospital and do not have community health centers in their vicinity. Drug stores that offer this sort of help are often referred to as “retail clinics.”

Currently, retail clinics are popping up everywhere. According to research compiled by Maryville University, there were over 1,800 retail health centers, or “mini-clinics,” located at pharmacies and drug stores as of 2014. This represents a 600% increase from seven years prior. These retail clinics are primarily found in supermarkets and retail stores.

However, keep in mind that retail clinics are designed to address “smaller” medical issues, not emergencies. They focus on being able to offer care at patients’ conveniences, but their resources are limited. If you are in need of X-rays, injury care, or being treated for symptoms like diarrhea or vomiting, then retail clinics are not where you and your family should go. But for allergy tests, cold, flu, or sinus infections, headaches, and other similar issues, a retail clinic may be your best option.

Free Resources

On top of CHCs and retail clinics, there are actually no-cost medical resources that may be available to you and your family. Free clinics cater to a variety of economically disadvantaged people, particularly those without insurance and not on Medicaid. They are sometimes walk-in based and offer:

  • Primary care
  • Women’s health
  • Men’s health
  • Disease screening
  • Vaccination

There are also free clinics that focus specifically on sexual health. Since the rates of certain STDs and STIs are rising, there have been a number of these clinics popping up to diagnose and treat people without insurance. While it can be tempting for some to try home remedies for their STDs or STIs, such actions only treat symptoms — not the diseases themselves. Therefore, it’s vital that all sexually active family members know where these clinics are and how to utilize them.

If you’re having trouble finding a no-cost or low-cost clinic, there are many online databases that may be able to help you. These store information about a broad variety of low-income medical health centers. They can both help you find free clinics, retail clinics, and CHCs in your close proximity.

In Closing

Knowing about the nearest low-cost healthcare centers can be very relieving the next time treatment is needed. No matter where you go — free clinics, your local CHC, or the pharmacy inside your nearest shopping center — we hope this information will help you navigate your next medical visit.

Tim Esterdahl

Tim Esterdahl is the editor of IFCS blog. He is a married father of three and enjoys golf in his spare time.
Tim Esterdahl

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