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Options for affordable health care in California

Charitable Options

If you cannot get any health insurance or a hospital discount, call your local community clinicHealth Consumer Centeror 211.org and ask if there any charitable programs that might provide, or pay for, the care or medications you need.

Programs we know of are:

  • Operation Access. Serves uninsured people living in six San Francisco Bay Area counties (Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo and Sonoma), who need outpatient surgery or a specialty procedure but cannot afford it. Patient income must not be higher than 2.5 times the Federal Poverty Level (FPL); click here to find out your FPL number.
  • Prescription Assistance Programs.  Many pharmaceutical companies offer free or low-cost prescription assistance programs to low-income individuals and families. These programs typically require a doctor’s consent and proof of financial status. They may also require that you have either no health insurance, or no prescription drug benefit through your health insurance.
  • Shriners Hospitals for Children. Serves children up to the age of 18 with orthopedic conditions, burns, spinal cord injuries and cleft lip and palate are eligible for admission and receive all care at no charge, regardless of financial need. There are two Shriners Hospitals for Children in California, one in Los Angeles and one in Sacramento.
  • California Vision Foundation. Provides free eye exams and low cost glasses to low-income, working, uninsured families throughout California. Patients must be employed or live in a household where someone is employed, low-income, not have had an eye exam in the past two years, and not have any insurance that covers vision services.
  • Breast Cancer Emergency Fund.  Provides emergency financial assistance of up to $600 to low-income women struggling to pay their bills while battling breast cancer. 
  • The American Academy of Dermatology.  Free skin cancer screenings, mostly in May.

Please let us know if there are other charitable programs we should list in this section, by emailing sabbass@health-access.org.