Health Insurance Status and Eligibility Among Patients who Seek Healthcare at a Free Clinic in the Affordable Care Act Era

Kristen Sessions, Amal Hassan, Thomas G. McLeod, Mark L. Wieland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations


Free clinics provide care to over 1.8 million people in the United States every year and are a valuable safety net for uninsured and underinsured patients. The Affordable Care Act has resulted in millions of newly insured Americans, yet there is continued demand for healthcare at free clinics. In this study, we assessed health insurance status and eligibility among 489 patients who visited a free clinic in 2016. Eighty-seven percent of patients seen were uninsured, 53.1% of whom were eligible for health insurance (Medicaid or subsidized insurance premiums). The majority of these patients completed health insurance applications at their visit with the help of a navigator. A majority of patients who were not eligible for health insurance lacked citizenship status. This study highlights that a significant number of patients who visit free clinics are eligible for health insurance, and that free clinics are important sites for health insurance navigation programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-5
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Community Health
StateAccepted/In press - Aug 22 2017



  • Affordable Care Act
  • Free clinics
  • Medically underserved
  • Uninsured

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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