Donated Care Programs: A Stopgap Measure or a Long-Run Alternative to Health Insurance?

In the absence of broad federal health care reform, interest has grown in local solutions to the problem of providing health care to the uninsured. Community-based donated medical care models have emerged as one alternative. We examine the early experience of a donated care program in southern Maine called CarePartners. Although such programs are often viewed as a short-term solution for those temporarily without health insurance, we find that CarePartners served a different role for many individuals. While clearly a stopgap measure for some enrollees, CarePartners appears to be a longer-term means for getting access to care for most enrollees.