Jamie Schmidt is a hard-working mom. Yet she and her husband do not have health insurance.
"There was just no way," she said. "Between paying the bills and gas for the cars, insurance just was not on the table for me."
She found affordable health care at the Faith Family Clinic, a nonprofit that offers primary health care services to working, uninsured people.
The clinic has two locations: 8711 Village Drive and 700 S. Zarzamora.
"If it wasn't for here, I would probably be in debt with doctors' bills," Schmidt said.
For her office visit, which included a flu shot and tetanus shot, she paid about $30.
"We were developed to serve that working population who really needed medical service at a price they could afford," said Jim Young, executive director of Faith Family Clinic.
Last year, the clinics saw 6,700 patients.
As Young sees it, they are filling a gap.
When Texas declined to expand Medicaid in conjunction with the launch of the Affordable Car Act, hundreds of thousands of residents were left in a coverage gap: earning too much to qualify for Medicaid, but too little to qualify for tax credits that make insurance on the Affordable Care Act exchange more affordable.
At the clinics, patients are charged per visit according to income and family size. An office visit will typically cost $30 to $65 and include services like X-rays, stitches and vaccinations.
Also, using a provision in the Affordable Care Act, the clinics offer membership-based primary care.
"It's really like a gym membership," Young said. "It's a flat fee, unlimited access."
The program is called Membercare. For $50 a month per person or $100 a month for a family, the member gets unlimited primary care, which includes lab work and minor surgical procedures.
It's a concept some small businesses, those with fewer than 50 employees and not required to offer health insurance, are buying into.
"Those are folks that say, 'We know we don't have to do anything, but we'd like to do something. We can't afford high-dollar insurance.' They see what we're doing and say, 'We can afford $50 a month,'" Young said.
The clinic program is not insurance. A choice some are making, according to Young, is to buy lower-priced, high-deductible insurance to cover hospitalization and serious health situations.
The clinics have about a half-dozen paid staff, relying in large part on volunteers. About 100 health professionals, including primary care physicians and specialists, donate time and expertise. Drug companies donate medications. Baptist, Christus and University hospitals provide services like lab work.
"We're able to do something in the community because of the generosity of others," Young said.
For more information: www.faithfamilyclinic.org