According to the National Association of Free Clinics, approximately 83 percent of free clinic patients come from a working household but because of under-employment, cannot afford health insurance; they must choose between the high cost of insurance payments or putting food on the table for their family. Others, who work only part-time or survive on two or more part-time jobs, may not be eligible for employer-sponsored health insurance coverage. Loss of a job is the most common reason people find themselves without health insurance.
The opportunity to care for at risk individuals with acute illnesses is an important strategy for reducing the incidence of chronic illness, eliminating the need for hospitalization and subsequent healthcare costs that are poorly compensated. The entire community becomes responsible for costs associated with lack of access to primary care by the medically uninsured.