How to Get Healthcare When You’re Out of a Job (Without Robbing a Bank)

Earlier this month, James Verone walked into a North Carolina bank and handed the teller a note that read “This is a bank robbery. Please only give me one dollar.” No, this isn’t the doing of a man not of sound mind—rather, it’s the work of a man not of sound body, which was something he wanted to remedy. He committed his “robbery” in the hopes of going to prison, where he’d be able to take advantage of free healthcare. Verone had become unemployed a few years ago; as a result, he didn’t have healthcare, which he needed so that he could have various ailments—including a foot problem, disc problems, and a growth on his chest—finally fixed.

Verone’s not alone in his plight of being unemployed with no health insurance, but the path he took to attempt to get free medical care is unorthodox and not recommended. Below, check out some free and low-cost healthcare options you can take advantage of without a brush with the law:

  • Need to see a doctor, dentist, or behavioral health specialist? The National Association of Free Clinics can help. This national organization provides a wide range of health services to economically disadvantaged and predominately uninsured people. Their website,, allows you to search by state to find a convenient, local free clinic.
  • If a child needs to be vaccinated, the Vaccines for Children Program can help. This federally funded program provides no-cost vaccines to children who might otherwise not be vaccinated due to cost concerns.
  • The American Optometric Association can help with vision-related issues. They can provide public health services to uninsured and low-income families.
  • Senior citizens can use Benefits Check Up to assist them in finding programs that could pay for a portion of the costs associated with their essential health care, such as prescription drugs, utilities, and more.
  • Qualified patients who are having difficulty paying for necessary prescriptions can seek help from the Partnership for Prescription Assistance. This organization can help people obtain prescriptions at low cost—and often at no cost.
  • The National Organization for Rare Disorders helps uninsured and underinsured people—those whose incomes are too high to qualify for Medicaid, but too low to afford their prescriptions–obtain life-saving and life-sustaining medications. Those affected by–or wanting to be screened for–cancer can seek help from a variety of organizations. The Avon Foundation Breast Care Fund links medically underserved women to resources such as screening services and breast health education, while the American Breast Cancer Foundation provides financial assistance to underinsured patients for breast cancer testing and other support services. The national, nonprofit organization Cancer Care provides professional support services at no charge to anyone affected by cancer; these programs include counseling, education, financial assistance and more.

Find more tips designed to help you save your money and your sanity while navigating the healthcare system at



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