about us

Why We Are Needed

VIM Berkshires’ volunteers and staff are often asked:  “Why do we need free services for the uninsured?  Since the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has been implemented, doesn’t everyone have access to health insurance now?”

The simple answer is  “no.” The ACA was never intended to cover everyone.  In fact, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that even after the act is fully implemented in 2019 in all 50 states, there will still be 31 million uninsured.  That’s about 10% of the country’s population.

Even in Massachusetts, with the highest insured rate in the country, 20% of residents were uninsured for part of the year, and 5% for the entire year.

People may lose health insurance when they lose a job or miss a premium payment because of an unexpected expense or drop in income. They may work too few hours to qualify for employer provided insurance or may be unable to afford ever-increasing co-pays and deductibles.

Volunteers in Medicine fills a significant, and growing, need in our community. In 2019 we treated nearly 1,000 uninsured area residents in 6,099 individual visits, up 35% since 2016

Our patients are working people you meet every day. They may be small business owners or self-employed. They work in stores, restaurants, farms, and construction sites. Many have multiple part-time jobs – all are struggling financially.

Patient Stories

My blood pressure for the first time is normal and my digestion is better. I’ve seen a psychiatrist who’s helping me with depression.  I got acupuncture for my chronic pain. I’m so grateful for VIM.