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Uninsured, Need Medical Care?

Local health clinics — and the National Association of Free & Charitable Clinics — can help

Updated June 2013: The following article and slide show about a large-scale, one-day health clinic for the uninsured was published in August 2010. Since that Washington D.C.-based event, the National Association of Free & Charitable Clinics has sponsored volunteer-run clinic events in other cities, including New Orleans, Houston, Atlanta,Tacoma and Dallas. If you are uninsured and in need of health care, you can visit the NAFC's website to locate a free health clinic facility in your area. Information is also available for volunteers interested in providing either medical- or non-medical assistance. The next large-scale clinic event is scheduled for Wednesday, July 3 in New Orleans.

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En español | For many older Americans who aren't yet 65, these are precarious times: too young for Medicare, but too old, according to many employers, to be hired for jobs with health benefits; too well-off for Medicaid, but too cash-strapped to afford high health insurance premiums and out-of-pocket costs.

See also: Your personalized guide to the health care law

"Although 2010 has been a historic year with the passage of federal health care reform legislation, uninsured people throughout the country still need  medical resources now," says Nicole Lamoureux, executive director of the National Association of Free Clinics, a non-profit that serves more than 1,200 permanent, locally-based free health clinics across the country.

To provide care, and draw public attention to the plight of the nation's uninsured, the NAFC has been hosting special one- and two-day large-scale events in arenas and convention centers. Clinic events have been held in Houston, Atlanta, Little Rock, Hartford and New Orleans, among other cities.

According to the NAFC, 83 percent of uninsured people are employed. As such, most people seeking care at NAFC clinic events are employed or seeking work, but are uninsured due to the high cost of insurance premiums and, often, being denied coverage or affordable coverage because of a pre-existing health condition. (Such individuals should be able to find more health insurance options in 2014, which is when the new health care law is scheduled to go into full effect.)

Next: Finding free or low-cost care. »

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