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How to Find Free or Low-Cost Health Care

And get the medical screenings and vaccines you need

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If you can't visit a health care provider, other places in your community may offer health screenings. — Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA/Corbis

Regular checkups, medical screenings and immunizations are essential to staying healthy.

If you have health insurance, the health care law — officially the Affordable Care Act — calls for most plans to cover the full cost of preventive care services, such as blood pressure checks and cancer screenings. And because of the health care law, Medicare recipients can now visit their doctor for an annual, no-cost wellness check.

If you're uninsured or have difficulty affording medical services, the following resources can help you find free or low-cost care in your community.

AARP & Walgreens Wellness Tour

With stops throughout the country, the AARP & Walgreens Wellness Tour provides free preventive and early detection health services. Learn more about the tour and how to find a tour stop near you at waytowelltour.com.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

A clickable map from the CDC provides contact information for state health departments that can help you find low-cost or free health screenings and vaccines near you.

Colorectal Cancer Control Program

To increase the number of screenings, this Centers for Disease Control and Prevention program offers services at a reduced cost in 25 states. Use the program's location tool to see if there's a clinic in your area.

Health Resources and Services Administration

Federally funded health centers are required to provide free or reduced-cost health and clinical services to eligible individuals. Visit the HRSA website to learn about your eligibility for such care. To find a health center near you, use the HRSA's health center tool or call the HRSA Information Center between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET at 888-275-4772.

National Association of Free & Charitable Clinics

The more than 1,200 free clinics that belong to this national nonprofit association are volunteer-supported and offer free or low-cost health care services. Visit the NAFC's website to find a local clinic or large-scale clinic event near you.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

Free and low-cost mental health screenings and services can be located with this SAMHSA locator tool.

Volunteers in Medicine

Founded in Hilton Head, S.C., in 1994 as a way for retired medical professionals to serve people who have limited access to care, Volunteers in Medicine now has clinics in 25 states. Visit the VIM website to find a clinic near you.

In addition to the aforementioned resources, be sure to check with your neighborhood pharmacy, city or state health department, and local health clinics to see if they can provide you with the care you need.

Updated February 25, 2013

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